New Rating System for Nursing Homes

elderly man using laptop

Choosing a nursing home is an extremely important and often overwhelming decision that affects the daily life of you and your loved one.  You want to be sure that your loved one is receiving the best care. 

There is a new rating system for federally certified nursing homes.  Formerly, there were report cards for nursing homes in the state of New Jersey which could be found online.  These report cards were designed to assist families in selecting an appropriate nursing home and were maintained by the New Jersey Health Department.  The New Jersey Report Card has been replaced by a five star rating system.

The five star rating system is operated by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  This federal government rating system provides information on nursing home quality ratings, nursing home oversight and staffing, and an overview of nursing home alternatives.  The nursing homes listed are certified by Medicare and/or Medicaid.  The overall five star rating combines data from health inspections, staffing, and quality of resident care measures with one star indicating “much below average” and five stars indicating “much above average.” 

You can access the five star rating system by visiting the CMS Nursing Home Compare Database.  After entering in your location by street address, zip code, city, or state, you can view a list of nearby nursing homes and then filter that list by factors such as distance, rating, number of certified beds, whether they accept Medicare or Medicaid, and whether the nursing home is located in a hospital or Continuing Care Retirement Community.  When clicking on each nursing home, you’ll find helpful details about each nursing home such as contact information, inspection results, and quality measures.

 I recommend to our clients that they visit the nursing homes they are considering several times and also during different times of day.  It is also important to talk to the staff and to the nursing home residents.