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Excellent Website To Compare Nursing Homes
Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins

Question: After my father died last year, my mother, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease several years before, moved in with my husband and me. Since we both work, we arranged for care at home, but Mom continues to slip to the extent that we are paying more than $9,000 per month for caregivers and other expenses. While Dad provided for her in his will, at this rate she will run out of money more quickly than we had planned. Admitting her to a nursing home was not our original plan, but we believe the time has come. Mom is 81 and in otherwise good health, so we want to make sure she has the best quality of life available. We have gotten mixed reviews about local facilities. Is there a way to research the facilities in our area for unbiased information?

Answer: Placement of a loved one in a nursing facility is generally the last choice that a family makes. But because of the number of nursing facilities throughout the United States and the amount of conflicting information about them, it’s difficult to make an evaluation. There are many Websites that contain good information about these 17,000 U.S. nursing homes, but we like the format and content of

The format offers basic information about every licensed nursing home in the country and, in our view, makes the complicated investigation process easier. Consumers and healthcare professionals can get sufficient information to make an initial evaluation by not only being able to compare nursing homes, but also to understand the various services and payment options. is easy to navigate, and because participating nursing facilities can “tell their stories” in pictures and words, valuable facility-specific information is available. Through a user-friendly search engine, you can find nursing homes in various locales throughout the country. You can even delineate your search according to facility name, type of ownership, number of beds, number of residents, percentage of occupancy, zip code, city, county, and state.

Through a unique Comparison Tool™, you can perform a comparative analysis of nursing homes, including a side-by-side comparison of the ever-important inspection reports, quality rankings, and the all-important staffing ratios – that is, the number of staff members per resident.

In addition, maintains up-to-date governmental data and reports gathered and maintained by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The Survey section of the Website provides a detailed listing of governmental performance surveys and records of previous surveys so that you can track a facility’s progress over time.

Facility performance is monitored in the areas of Administration, Environment, Mistreatment, Nutrition and Diet, Pharmacy Service, Quality Care, Resident Assessment, and Resident Rights. The Quality Measures section offers government data on the percentage of facility residents with physical restraints, with infections, with unexpected, sudden, or rapid loss of ability in basic daily tasks, with pain, with pressure sores, with delirium, and about those who walk as well or better than at the time of admission. The Staffing Section provides detailed information on hours spent by staff members caring for each resident, on a facility, state, and national level.

Taking The NextStep: We like because it provides easily accessible and tangible information about facilities to which you will entrust the care of your loved ones. Another important feature is that facilities have the opportunity to supplement and explain governmental reports and provide virtual photo tours. You can even e-mail facilities in which you are interested directly and create your own “homepage” that can list the facilities of your choice. You can then receive updates on these chosen facilities via this “homepage.”

Need more advice or help with this topic? Click here to get information about taking the "Next Step".

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