Nursing Home Ratings and Reports are Full of Useful Information

Ohio nursing home ratingsWhen choosing an Ohio nursing home for a parent or loved one nothing substitutes for a personal visit to a site you are considering.  However, it is always a good idea to do your homework.  There are more than 970 nursing homes in Ohio and many websites that provide information about them.

A  U.S. News and World Report article recently compared two of the major websites that evaluate nursing homes throughout the country—Nursing Home Compare and Best Nursing Homes.  From these sites, persons evaluating nursing homes can begin to make a list of places they might consider for their loved one.  Neither site evaluates homes that take only private pay residents which comprise a very small number of nursing homes.

Although it may seem simplistic, the first question to answer may be is a nursing home what my loved one really needs?  The websites noted above do not rank retirement or assisted living communities so you may want to look elsewhere if your search is taking you there.

You may also have to choose between private and public nursing homes and religious or secular.

For government purposes, a nursing home is defined as a Medicare or Medicaid facility that provides 24-hour nursing care and other medical services.

Nursing Home Compare is a consumer web site run by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that provides data for the U.S. News ranking of nursing homes. This information is updated quarterly for nearly every nursing facility in the United States.  CMS sets and enforces standards for all nursing homes enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid.

Nursing Home Compare’s data is derived from health inspections conducted by state agencies and the homes themselves.  Homes are given one to five stars for how well they do in the health inspections, in providing enough nurses and in providing a high level quality of care.  CMS assigns an overall rating of one to five stars.  Nationally, about 2500 nursing homes had a five-star overall rating at the beginning of 2012.  That’s slightly more than 15% of the 16,000 currently operating nursing home facilities.

Best Nursing Homes’ rating is based on total stars across the three major rating elements—health inspections, nurse staffing, and quality of care.  The topmost tier of nursing homes would have five stars in all three categories.  Best Nursing Homes displays the full range of health inspections on its site as well as the results of fire inspections.

If you’re searching for a home by state, region, city or zip code and find too many results, Best Nursing Homes allows you to combine search terms to narrow the field.  You could search for a religiously-affiliated home, for example, or for homes that accept Medicare.  You can even perform a multi-pronged search, for five-star religiously-affiliated Medicare homes within 50 miles of a particular city.

At Nursing Home Compare, you can search for a specific home or for all nursing home facilities in a particular state or within a certain distance of your city or zip code, but search terms cannot be combined.  For example, you cannot search for five-star homes within 50 miles of a specific city.

Nursing Home Compare also provides ownership information regarding the names of individuals and organizations with ownership or managerial control of a home.  It also provides the full text of Statements of Deficiency from each home’s most recent health inspections.

Health inspections are conducted by state teams on behalf of CMS every 12 to 15 months. They consult a checklist of 180 items and also investigate health-related complaints from residents, their families and the public.  They survey food preparation, adequacy of infection control, medication management, residents’ rights, quality of life, and proper skin care.

In developing its nurse staffing rating, CMS determines an average of nursing time per patient per day.  Homes report the average number of registered nurses, LPNs, licensed vocational nurses and certified nurse aides on the payroll during the two weeks prior to the most recent inspection and the number of hours worked.  Slightly more than four hours of nursing care per day for each resident is required for a five-star rating, including 33 minutes from registered nurses.

Quality measures are computed by tabulating 19 indicators for each Medicare and Medicaid resident.  Both Nursing Home Compare and Best Nursing Home list data concerning all 19 indicators on their sites. The ratings are then based on 10 factors considered the most reliable which are related to pain, bedsores and patient mobility.

A home’s rating is based on the number of deficiencies and how many residents could have been affected by the shortcoming.  State inspectors also check for compliance with fire safety rules, but this is not included in the CMS rating.

Remember one five-star home may be of a different quality than another although U.S. News compiles a Honor Roll of homes that have received perfect five-star ratings for four consecutive quarters—39 made the list at the beginning of 2012.

Another thing to consider in choosing a home is the type of medical insurance it accepts.  It is also a good idea to check the home’s policies and procedures regarding ongoing costs and payments.

It is also important to know the size of the facility and how many beds are contained in it, the doctor to patient and nurse to patient ratio, and the safety policies and procedures on file.

Another website to help in making your choice is which is sponsored by the Ohio Department of Health.

To learn more about Ohio nursing homes and how to avoid nursing home abuse and elder abuse in Ohio nursing homes, please visit

If you suspect nursing home abuse or negligence, please contact us by calling 1-888-709-9967 for a FREE consultation with an experienced Ohio nursing home abuse attorney or send a message from the website to schedule a time to talk by clicking on the following link: Contact Us

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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