Data Mine: Nursing Homes

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Data from September 2013

Information for this database was adapted from Nursing Home Compare, a database compiled by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Experts recommend that the best way to choose a nursing home is to visit the home in person.

Nursing Home Compare rates homes on a five-star rating system, with 5 stars designating much-above average quality, and 1 star designating much-below average. There is one overall 5-star rating for each home, and a separate rating for each of three areas: health inspections, which are conducted through on-site reviews; staffing levels, which are based on the reported number of hours of care per resident; and quality measures, which are clinical measures of residents’ wellbeing.

The numbers of deficiencies, and severity of deficiencies, are citations made in the most recent inspections of homes. In determining severity, inspectors rank deficiencies from 1-4, with a 1 designating a potential for minimal harm, and a 4 designating immediate jeopardy to residents’ health or safety. In this database, the number of deficiencies is followed by the severity, so that a “2 (4)” would represent a home with two deficiencies at the highest level of severity (4). The percent of residents who suffer from pressure sores is considered a key indicator of nursing home quality—lower numbers are better.  Another quality measure is the percent of residents receiving an antipsychotic medication, lower numbers are better.

New in this database is the standard health inspection for each facility. The inspection details any deficiencies and a plan of correction.

For more information, including how individual homes compare with statewide averages, go to: http://www.medicare.gov/NHCompare