How does Medicare’s nursing home rating system work?

| Mar 10, 2021 | Long-Term Care Planning |

Choosing to place an elderly parent in a nursing home may be one of the more consequential decisions you ever make. After all, you must entrust nurses and other professionals at the nursing home to provide appropriate and tailored care to your mother or father.

Even though some nursing homes are better than others, you can take steps to choose the best one for your parent. Looking at Medicare’s rating for each facility you are considering is a good idea. Medicare’s rating system assigns up to five stars in three important areas.

1. Staffing

Generally, nursing homes with good staff-to-patient ratios tend to provide better care to residents. That is, if there are not enough workers to meet the needs of residents, care is likely to be subpar. Medicare’s rating system calculates the total staff at the nursing home, including the following professionals:

  • Registered nurses
  • Physical therapists
  • Licensed practical nurses
  • Nurse aids

2. Health inspections

To comply with Medicare rules, nursing homes must undergo health inspections at least once every year. If the nursing home has a history of poor performance, inspections may be more frequent, however. Before assigning a rating, inspectors check emergency preparedness, fire safety, food preparation and storage and other health-related issues.

3. Care quality

Finally, Medicare officials carefully examine the quality of care at each nursing home they rate. This in-depth review covers 17 metrics, ranging from infection and vaccination rates to bedsore and fall reports. To earn a five-star rating, the nursing home must score highly on quality of care.

Ultimately, examining Medicare’s rating system may only be one part of your research. Nevertheless, by focusing on care quality and other Medicare metrics, you boost your chances of finding the right nursing home for your mom or dad.

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