When it comes time to move a loved one into a nursing home, family members need to learn everything they can about the facility to make sure their loved one is well cared for. Websites like Yelp and Medicare can make that process easier with nursing home ratings.
With all of the news about the rise in nursing home abuse, families are understandably concerned about their decision. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to predict how a home will treat your loved one simply by visiting their website or attending an hour-long visit.
Fortunately, sites like Medicare and Yelp provide nursing home ratings using five-star systems that allow families to learn at a glance how good the nursing home is.
Choosing a Nursing Home for Your Loved One
When choosing a nursing home for your loved one, you’ll want to know some important details — how the staff treats the residents, if the facility has enough staff, and how often the residents are sent to the hospital. Nursing home rating websites like Medicare and Yelp can help you learn this and more.
Other websites you can turn to for information include:
- The nursing home’s website
- The nursing home’s social media sites
- Google reviews
- Local newspapers
- Family members of other current residents
Reviewing a Nursing Home’s Medicare Rating
Every nursing home that is Medicare or Medicaid-certified will receive a Medicare rating.
Medicare’s five-star system is based on measurable information from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ health inspection database, Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) system, the Minimum Data Set (MDS) national database, and Medicare claims data.
This system is broken down into four categories: quality measures, staffing, health inspections, and the overall rating.
You can view a nursing home’s rating by using Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare search tool.
1. Quality Measures
Medicare uses different measures to determine long-term and short-term nursing home ratings.
Some quality factors Medicare looks at are:
- The percentage of patients who were unexpectedly readmitted to the hospital
- The number of patients who receive antipsychotic medication to manage their behavior
- How many patients have pressure ulcers and bedsores
- The percentage of patients whose ability to move on their own worsened
The star rating for staff members looks at two factors:
- How many registered nurse (RN) hours there are for each resident every day
- How many hours of nursing care — RN, licensed practical nurse (LPN), and nurse aide — each resident receives daily
3. Health Inspections
The star ratings for health inspections are determined based on the three most recent annual inspection surveys and the findings from any proven complaints from the past 36 months.
The health inspection rating looks at a variety of items, such as:
- Whether or not the home has hired enough staff to meet the residents’ needs effectively
- If the team is good at managing patient medications
- If food is stored and prepared properly
- What interactions between the staff members and residents look like
4. Overall Rating
There are three steps to determine a nursing home’s overall rating with Medicare:
- The stars from the health inspection are used as the starting point.
- One star is added if the staff rating is four or five stars and higher than the health inspection rating. One star is taken away if the staff rating is only one star.
- Another star is added if the quality measure rating is five stars. On the other hand, a star can be taken away if the quality measure rating is only one star.
Reviewing a Nursing Home’s Yelp Rating
Another nursing home rating website is Yelp. This website allows people who live in a nursing home or who have a family member in the facility to share their experiences and give the home a rating out of five stars.
By looking at the score, families who are considering moving their loved one into that home can learn what other families think of the home. By reading the comments, they also can discover what those families say about different things like food, staff-resident interactions, and more.
Holding Nursing Homes Accountable
Online reviews from Medicare, Yelp, and other information sources show the quality of a nursing home and allow those who had negative experiences to voice their concerns. Families have a right to know what the quality of care will be like for their loved ones.
Before picking a home for your loved one, do your due diligence and use online tools like these to learn more about the facility.
If you are searching for a new nursing home because of previous experience with neglect or abuse in another facility, contact the Nursing Home Abuse Center. Our team can help review your case and answer legal questions.