Evaluating Nursing Homes

Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes are required to complete government inspections at least once every 15 months.  The government provides information on the results of these inspections on Medicare.gov.

The nursing home inspection information provides a nice starting point for evaluating a nursing home but they do not include information on many violations and incidents of abuse which may be reported.  You must visit a nursing home and question staff and family members of other residents to find out more information.

This week, the news media reported a group of teens working at a nursing home in Minnesota sexually abused and humiliated elderly residents with dementia.  This information will not be found on Medicare's website of inspection results for this nursing home, for example, yet it is valuable information to know if you are considering placement at this nursing facility.  Many caregivers who work for Senior Home Care Agencies have worked in nursing homes at some point in their career.  If you know a professional caregiver, ask them about the nursing homes in your area.  Caregivers also know other caregivers, expecially if they completed a nursing aide certificate, and can be a valuable resource for letting you know the inside scoop on the care at local nursing homes.

You may search the recent nursing home inspection reports on Caregiverlist's Nursing Home List.


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Comments (2) -

  • I think your suggestion to talk to the staff is very wise - they are doing the actual hands-on care and know best what really happens.
  • Medicare's nursing home rating  system is best used to ferret out the truly terrible homes. A big drawback is the vagueness of the reported infractions. Some that sound pretty scary can be innocuous.  It's best to physically visit each facility considered and spend time just watching.  How do the staff interact with the patients? One of my main criteria is whether the administrator is out of his/her office with the residents or closeted behind a closed door all the time.  The folks who manage by walking around generally provide the better hands on care.

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