If your elderly mother or father needs to move into a nursing home, you have no shortage of options. Indeed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are almost 16,000 nursing homes in the U.S., providing long-term care to more than 1.3 million residents.
As you probably know, not all nursing homes in the country provide the same level of care. Sadly, some are even downright miserable places to live. To begin your search for the best place for your mom or dad, you may want to look at Medicare’s nursing home rating system.
A five-star rating system
If you shop online, you are probably no stranger to star-based rating systems. Medicare’s rating method works much like these systems. In fact, Medicare gives each rated nursing home as many as five stars. These stars come from a facility’s performance in specific areas, including the following:
- Health inspections
- Short-term care
- Long-term care
- Quality measures
A chance for improvement
It is important to note that a facility can improve its Medicare rating fairly quickly, as the Medicare rating system provides greater weight to recent evaluations. As such, you can determine whether a nursing home is on the right track by looking at previous ratings. Considering older ratings also can tell you whether a facility is going downhill.
Even though Medicare’s five-star rating system can give you an overview of a nursing home’s quality, it should not be your only consideration. Ultimately, before choosing a facility, you should visit it multiple times, talk to administrators and staff and seek input from your elderly mother or father.