Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Medicare Website Includes Good Information for Choosing Nursing Homes

One of the many resources available to compare nursing homes is the medicare sponsored "Nursing Home Compare" website. The site allows users to view nursing homes by location or name and to obtain statistics about the care provided at these facilities. For people searching for a nursing home, the site can be quite helpful.

It is worthwhile to know, however, that the statistics may not paint a complete picture of the quality of care. For example, the site includes information about the percentage of patients requiring wound care. On the one hand, a high percentage might indicate that the nursing home has many patients with bedsores. This could be a sign of neglect. On the other hand, some nursing homes specialize in the treatment of patients with serious wounds. As a result, hospitals may send more of such patients to that facility. In that case, a higher percentage may simply reflect that the facility specializes in that type of treatment.

In addition, much of the information contained in the nursing home compare site is self reported by the nursing homes. As a result, some of the data may be inaccurate or overly optimistic.

The website is a valuable source of information. It is best viewed, however, as one way to evaluate a nursing home, rather than the only way. Upon considering a facility, you want to might look it up before visiting. At the site visit, you can ask the staff about any apparent negatives shown in their reported statistics.

The nursing home compare web site is located at: www.medicare.gov/NHCompare.

For other information about choosing a good nursing home, visit the Stotis & Baird web site at www.stotisandbaird.com

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