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Are Medicare’s nursing home ratings reliable?

On Behalf of | Jul 29, 2021 | Blog, Long Term Care Planning |

If you have an elderly or infirm parent, you may have little choice but to place him or her in a nursing home or another long-term care facility. Still, you may have heard horror stories about abuse and neglect in nursing homes. You may also wonder if the nursing home fits into your parent’s long-term care plan.

While talking to friends, neighbors, coworkers and others may help you narrow your list of possible facilities, you should also check Medicare’s nursing home ratings. After all, professionals at the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services devote significant resources to rating nursing homes.

How does the rating system work?

Medicare’s nursing home rating system assigns up to five stars based upon a nursing home’s performance in three areas:

  • Regular health inspections
  • Staffing numbers
  • 15 quality of care measures

Recent information has more weight than older details. Consequently, if a nursing home is improving, its star rating is likely to rise. Likewise, a nursing home that is failing may lose its five-star rating quickly. This rating approach gives you a good idea of the current level of care each facility provides.

What quality of care measures affect star rating?

The 15 quality of care measures that factor into a nursing home’s star rating cover a variety of topics. Among others, these include the rates of falls, bedsores and infections. If a nursing home scores well with quality of care measures, it is likely to have a good or great star rating.

While a nursing home’s Medicare rating is likely to be reliable, it probably does not give you enough information to choose the right facility. Ultimately, you may want to plan at least one site visit to be certain a nursing home is a good place for your aging parent to thrive.

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