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Family members can use tools to guide their selection of nursing home facilities. However, no rating system can address all of the important consideration that go into a decision about which nursing home may be best for a particular person. Examples include the extent to which specialty care is provided (such as specialized rehabilitation or dementia care) or how easy it will be for family members to visit the nursing home resident. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created the Five-Star Quality Rating System to help consumers, their families, and caregivers compare nursing homes more easily and to help identify areas about which you may want to ask questions.
The Nursing Home Compare Web site features a quality rating system that gives each nursing home a rating of between 1 and 5 stars. Nursing homes with 5 stars are considered to have much above average quality and nursing homes with 1 star are considered to have quality much below average. There is one Overall 5-star rating for each nursing home, and a separate rating for each of the following three sources of information:
Health Inspections – The health inspection rating contains information from the last 3 years of onsite inspections, including both standard surveys and any complaint surveys. This information is gathered by trained, objective inspectors who go onsite to the nursing home and follow a specific process to determine the extent to which a nursing home has met Medicaid and Medicare’s minimum quality requirements. The most recent survey findings are weighted more than the prior two years. More than 180,000 onsite reviews are used in the health inspection scoring nationally.
Staffing – The staffing rating has information about the number of hours of care provided on average to each resident each day by nursing staff. This rating considers differences in the levels of residents' care need in each nursing home. For example, a nursing home with residents who had more severe needs would be expected to have more nursing staff than a nursing home where the resident needs were not as high.
Quality Measures (QMs) – The quality measure rating has information on 11 different physical and clinical measures for nursing home residents. The rating now includes information about nursing homes' use of antipsychotic medications in both long-stay and short-stay residents. This information is collected by the nursing home for all residents. The QMs offer information about how well nursing homes are caring for their residents’ physical and clinical needs. More than 12 million assessments of the conditions of nursing home residents are used in the Five-Star rating system.
For this assignment, click on the following link http://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html and enter your hometown's zip code. Select at least 3 nursing homes and compare the quality indicators. In your opinion, how do the nursing homes measure up? Are there any problem areas? Would you have any concerns if your family member/friend was a resident at the facility?
Next, review the state rankings for your home state using the following website: http://nursinghomereportcards.com/state-rankings/
Were you surprised by your state's overall ranking? What concerns were noted? How can the quality of care be improved at these facilities in your state?
Family members can use tools to guide their selection of nursing home facilities. However, no rating system can address all of the important consideration that go into a decision about which nursing home may be best for a particular person.