Nursing Home Inspect 2.0 To Aid in Choosing Nursing Homes
With nursing home abuse in the news on an almost daily basis, choosing Nursing Homes to care for a loved one can be a daunting task. Fortunately, a new tool by ProPublica has become available that could eliminate at least some of the worry of nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect when choosing nursing homes.
ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative news organization, has just launched Nursing Home Inspect 2.0, a free database to help consumers make the right choice when choosing Nursing Homes. The database draws on government inspection reports from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The federal government does maintain a similar database, but ProPublica says its format makes the information easier to access and aid in choosing Nursing Homes.
ProPublica first launched Nursing Home Inspect in August. The 2.0 version, which went live on December 17th, now includes more information about federal sanctions against nursing homes across the country, including fines and payment suspensions. It also allows consumers to compare Nursing Homes in several areas, including:
- The number of deficiencies cited by regulators in the past three inspection cycles (roughly three years).
- The number of serious deficiencies per home.
- The amount of fines imposed.
- How often the government has suspended payments to the home for new patients, another type of penalty.
Every state now has its own page on Nursing Home Inspect 2.0, allowing consumers to compare facilities in one state based on a variety of factors. Individual nursing homes also have their own page listing all of the deficiencies identified within the past three survey cycles, as well as links to any available inspection reports. Visitors to the individual facility pages will also be able to ascertain if a home has been labeled by the government as a Special Focus Facility, meaning that it has many more problems than other homes. There are also Top 20 Lists which detail facilities that have paid the most in fines in the nation, and a list of homes with the highest number of serious deficiencies.
Another great feature of the site allows visitors to search through inspection reports by using key words like “choke” or “maggots”. These search results can be sorted by date, city, and state or by severity of the deficiency.
Of course, consumers should only consider websites like Nursing Home Inspect 2.0 as a starting point for choosing the right facility for their loved one. Once you’ve made a list of nursing homes that look promising, you need to make at least one visit to a facility to be sure it will provide a safe and nurturing environment. While you can schedule a visit to most homes by contacting an admissions counselor, it may be best to arrive unannounced, to catch the staff off guard.
During your visit, ask to see the home’s most recent inspection form, which is supposed to be available to you during an in-person visit. Also take note of residents’ appearance and demeanor, as well as the condition of the facility itself. If say, a large number of residents are still in bed after 10 a.m., the staff might be neglecting them. If you notice a strong smell of urine in the halls, it could be a sign toilet needs are not being met in a timely manner. Anything that leads you to believe residents are not being adequately cared for should be cause to cross that facility off your list.