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How are long term care facilities rated?

Finding the perfect facility for your elderly close friend or loved one may seem like a daunting task. You want your loved one to be properly cared for, comfortable and treated well in their new home. While doing your research, you can look at the ratings given to the different long-term care facilities to see how they compare with the rest.

According to The White House, over 1.4 million people currently live in more than 15,500 Medicaid and Medicare certified nursing facilities scattered throughout the country.  By understanding specific standards used to grade long-term care facilities, you can ensure you find the best living situation for your elderly loved one.

CMS star ratings

State Medicare and Medicaid services have developed their own rating system for long-term care facilities known as the CMS five-star quality rating system. The program rates residential facilities by evaluating each one under certain categories, including the following:

  • Staffing, including the ratio of nursing staff to residents, how many hours of care residents receive each day, and how many hours nurses work each day.
  • Health inspections, or looking for signs of abuse, medication management, food handling procedures and cleanliness.
  • Quality of care, including clinical assessments of residents.

Under the rating system, federal and state agencies visit the facilities and make comprehensive assessments, which are then available to the public.

Other considerations

Care facilities should have a staff that is adequately trained and educated. It is also important that nursing professionals do not have suspended licenses or previous violations when it comes to caring for elderly patients. If there is not enough staff, nurses may suffer from burnout, which could affect the quality of care they provide to patients.

Potential residents should do their research before moving into a facility. Read reviews left by current or previous residents, visit the facility and research evaluations given online. While visiting the facility, do not be afraid to get information from residents and staff you see during the visit.

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