Looking for a skilled nursing care facility can be a daunting task, as families want to be sure their elderly relatives will be safe and cared for. With so many different factors to consider, family members may not know how to choose a nursing home, or where to begin with the questions they want to ask. Medicare has a system of nursing home ratings that potential residents can use to decide which facilities meet their needs.
The Medicare Five-Star Quality rating gives a star for each of three categories, including Health Inspections, Staffing, and Quality Measures.
The Health Inspections rating is based on the scores from the three most recent annual inspections and those from inspections based on complaints. If a facility only scores one star on the Health Inspection segment, the Staffing and Quality Measures scores cannot boost the Overall Score by more than one star.
The Quality Measures and Staffing ratings are based on information provided by the skilled care nursing facilities. The Quality Measures rate specific aspects of care, such as how well residents retain their independence, methods of prevention and treatment of bedsores, and how well the staff meet the residents’ medical needs. Staffing ratings are based on the ratio of staff to residents, staff qualifications, and rate of turnover.
Because two-thirds of Medicare’s nursing home ratings are provided by the facilities themselves, potential residents are encouraged to ask questions based on these categories. In addition to asking about staff qualifications and any special care the resident is interested in, families are encouraged to visit potential nursing homes multiple times before making a decision. This allows the resident to see available nursing home activities and types of meals served, and allows the families to look for safety hazards and dramatic changes in other residents.
While nursing home ratings are a great starting point in the search for a good nursing home, families should not base their entire decision on ratings alone. Finding the right nursing home can be a long process, but it is better to take the extra time to find the right facility than to rush the process. For more, read this link.