Ratings of Nursing Homes

Today I am blogging answers to some common long-term care questions about the federal Five Star Rating System

Question:  Someone told me that the nursing home I live in has a one star rating. What does that mean?

Answer: It means the nursing home has been assigned the lowest rating by the federal government’s Five Star Quality Rating system. The person who told you about the one star rating was probably referring to the overall rating for the facility. The overall rating is based on health inspections, complaint investigations, staffing levels, and quality measures. Five stars are the most a nursing home can get and represent much above average. One star is the fewest and represents much below average.  The nursing home you live in was listed as having twice as many health citations or deficiencies as the average nursing home in Kentucky.  The home also reports less staff time per resident per day than other facilities in your area.  The Five Star Quality Rating system was created to help people compare nursing homes.

Question:  I am helping my brother select a nursing home and I want to look at the ratings of all nursing homes in my area. Where can I find the information?

Answer:  Anyone can view nursing home ratings by visiting http://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html   If you don’t use the internet or you need help selecting a nursing home you can call the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency (NHOA) at 859-277-9215. Or email us at nhoa@ombuddy.org  Remember that the Five Star Quality Rating system is a tool to help you compare facilities.  The system isn’t perfect, but it does give you some guidance as you try to make a good choice. You and your brother should visit the nursing home and check it out before moving.