This week, Medicare released a quick and easy method to compare nursing homes on the web. Medicare has always had a compare nursing home aspect of their website, now it is integrated that old system with a 5 star ranking. Although reports have always been available to the public about nursing home violations and care information, this layout offers the compare ability. It lays out to the public the poor review after poor review in some states. It shows that we have a long way to go to improve the culture of our nursing homes.
When looking around the interweb for what the aging community has thought about the ranking system, I stumbled upon a Elder Abuse Lawyer’s website, where this new system was discussed. I begin reading this Elder Abuse blog and article after article the endless cases of abuse in nursing homes was discussed. It hurt so much to read that information. I would have thought that through my training and experience I would have been a little less surprised at the poor quality of nursing homes. But, still, it hurt to read. Then I thought how must it feel to be a family trying to decide to move their loved one in a facility. The fear that their loved one will be hurt and humiliated in a facility that is suppose to CARE for them. Or, the older adult who fears the nursing home for many real reasons that may include a fear of their own safety while in the care of under trained, overworked, and underpaid staff.
I would hope that the Internet’s ability to reach so many homes will help spread the word that there needs to be an over all change in the way we view and establish nursing homes in order for the quality and care to improve. Look nationwide, this map shows how poor the nursing homes are laid out across the country.