What is the Five-Star Quality Ranking System for Nursing Homes?
No matter how much time you dedicate to research, preliminary visits and planning, choosing a skilled nursing care facility is always a difficult choice. After all, you are making a choice that will determine the course of your foreseeable future and change the pattern of your or your loved one’s daily lives. Moreover, because of the wide variety of factors to consider, it can be difficult to compare nursing homes accurately and effectively. Fortunately, because of this challenge, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created the Five Star Quality Rating System to help patients and their families identify the best skilled nursing care facilities. In this rating system, one star represents a substandard institution, while five stars signify a nursing home that is far above average. But what factors are used to determine this score? Read on to learn how the CMS establishes these ratings and how you can use them to compare nursing homes near you.
As skilled care nursing facilities, nursing homes need to maintain and demonstrate high standards for cleanliness and more. To rate this quality, the CMS therefore reviews reports and complaints from the past three years, which are gathered by trained inspectors using a specific process. More than 180,000 onsite reports are reportedly reviewed around the country. However, it should be noted that recent surveys are weighted more than ratings from the past two years.
The quality and dedication of the employees can make or break any business or organization, which is why the CMS considers a facility’s staff when they compare nursing homes. But because this standard is hard to judge, the score is judged based on the ratio of patients to staff, the amount of time the employees have to dedicate to each patient and the level of care the patients require. Accordingly, a nursing home with a high number of patients with special needs, like Alzheimer’s care, will require a larger staff if the facility is to receive a good score.
Quality Assurance Measures
A nursing home’s quality assurance measures, or QMs, are judged on 11 different physical and clinical factors to analyze how well the facility meets its patients’ needs. For example, this score might consider how often the nursing home prescribes anti-psychotic medication for both short and long term nursing patients. The nursing home in question collects this and other information, submitting more than 12 million assessments to generate nursing home ratings.
While having a set system to compare nursing homes is extremely important and useful, you will likely notice that this scoring method doesn’t tell you much about the facility itself. As a result, if you are considering your nursing care options, it is important to visit potential centers and research other factors, like available activities and services, before you make a decision.