Help With Choosing a Nursing Home

By Sophia Kroon

Choosing a nursing home for yourself or a loved one can be a daunting task. But there are tools available to help, such as the annual U.S. News & World Report ratings of nearly all of the 16,000 nursing homes in the country — including Kindred’s 224 nursing centers.

Information for the rankings comes from Nursing Home Compare, a website sponsored by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Using data collected from surveys of local agencies and facility self-reporting, CMS assigns a one- to five-star rating to the three categories of state-conducted health inspections, nursing staffing, and quality of care measures (based on nine different factors). The ratings are then combined to produce an overall facility rating of one to five stars.

“The report is designed to help the consumer understand the quality of care provided by a nursing home. In addition to the most recent score, people can look back at the survey history of a facility for the last three years,” says Kathy Owens, Division Senior Vice President of Clinical and Resident Services.

The ratings are periodically updated throughout the year, which gives a facility an opportunity to take corrective actions if an issue is identified. However, the improvement will not be reflected in the ratings right away. According to Owens, there is an enormous amount of very complicated information feeding the reporting system that is constantly being updated to ensure accuracy.

On the U.S. News & World Report website, nursing homes are easily searchable by zip code, state or metro area. But the report is just one factor to be reviewed when comparing nursing homes. The site makes good suggestions for doing comparisons, such as visiting homes at different times of the day and looking for signs that the staff has a good relationship with residents (like calling them by name).

Learn more about the report from Avery Comarow, Health Rankings Editor of U.S. News and World Report in this step-by-step video.

Looking for more help making a decision? Do you need information on Medicare coverage, how to prepare for your stay, or important checklists?  Click here for answers to those questions and more!