As people grow older, their needs often rise. Eventually their families cannot provide adequate care and seek outside help. Nursing homes are supposed to provide this care, but families often are unable to find the right home for their loved one. Fortunately, the Nursing Home Compare Tool on the Medicare website can be very helpful and informative.
Families start out on the website by entering their zip code, city, or state. There is also an option to search for a specific nursing home. This can help find information about a place already being considered. Upon searching a number of nursing homes will pop up. Which nursing homes show up in search results depends on how far from the city or zip code the distance option is set. Nursing homes are rated in a number of categories.
Each nursing home that shows up on the list is rated in three categories: Health Inspections, Staffing, Quality Measures. Health inspections refers to the nursing homes performance and rating from when it has been inspected. Staffing refers to the number of RNs (registered nurses), LPNs (licensed practical nurses, LVNs (licensed vocational nurses), and CNAs (certified nursing assistants) in the facility. Quality measures rate how well the home cares for the needs of its residents. Each nursing home receives an overall score as well. All scores are based on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.
One very helpful feature of the site is that it allows users to view nursing homes and information side-by-side. Users need only click to add the homes they wish to compare. Users can then view ratings in all the aforementioned categories along with other information. This includes a Health Inspections Summary. Other information provided is the number of beds, whether the hospital accepts Medicare and Medicaid, if the facility is for-profit and other relevant facts. Users of Nursing Home Compare can see further details which tell why facilities received the scores they did in certain categories as well. Even penalties the facility has received can be visible. These features can be viewed for a single facility as well, by simply clicking on the facility name.
Finding the right nursing home can be tough. Families want to make sure they find a place that will make their loved one happy and give them the care they need. Nursing Home compare provides concrete evidence about the quality of homes. It allows families to compare local facilities and determine which one they prefer. It is a valuable tool in the fight to ensure loved ones are given the care they deserve.