The Correct Way to Utilize ‘Nursing Home Compare’

When you are scouring the internet to find the perfect nursing home for your elderly family members, you often come across tips and factors for judging convalescent homes. But it is very rare that you find actual tools to quantitatively measure and compare them. One of these rare instances is Nursing Home Compare, which allows you to compare information of more than 15,000 nursing homes that are certified to be paid for with Medicare or Medicaid. You should make use of the tools listed below provided by Nursing Home Compare to pick the best nursing facility for your aging parents or other family members.

The Five Star Quality Rating System

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has created the Five Star Quality Rating System for the facilitation of the consumers and caregivers alike, so that they can focus and identify their priority areas.

Senior facilities are given an overall rating between 1 and 5 stars, as well as three separate ratings for the following:

Nursing Home Inspections

Comprising of complaint and standard surveys, the information from these onsite inspections is collected by trained inspectors who follow a standard procedure for determining the extent to which the healthcare facility meets the minimum quality requirements set by Medicare and Medicaid. The data from previous three years is used for evaluation, with more weightage on the most recent survey than the last two years.

Quality Measures’ Scores

It is based on eleven different measures for assessing the quality of care and services provided to the consumers. The QM scores are an indicator of how well the institute is caring for the clinical and physical needs of its residents. The conditions of more than 12 million residents are assessed to evaluate these QMs.

New Quality Measures for Long Stay and Short Stay Residents – The rating now contains information regarding the use of antipsychotic medications by the nursing facilities.  


It deals with the average number of hours of care provided by the nursing staff to each resident. But this rating differs with the level of care required by the residents.


The two most commonly occurring penalties are listed by the Nursing Home Compare:

  • Payment denials – payment of Medicare/Medicaid for new residents is ceased for the nursing facility
  • Fines – imposed per day or once per deficiency

This website lists the penalties that have been imposed on the senior homecare facilities in the past three years. If the deficiencies are not corrected, then the agreement of the said nursing facility with Medicare/Medicaid is terminated and the existing residents with Medicare or Medicaid are shifted to other certified facilities. If you do not want your family member to go through the trouble of shifting and adjusting in a new place, choose a nursing home that does not have any major outstanding penalties.

Your Rights as a Convalescent Home Resident

Make sure that you know your rights provided to you by law as a nursing home resident. Generally, your chosen skilled nursing facility will provide you with a copy of these rights. Don’t hesitate to file a complaint if any of your rights are violated. If you wish to learn more about the rights of a nursing home resident click here.

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