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Do Nursing Home Star Ratings Matter?

by | Dec 28, 2021 | Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect

A report card with high marks means that a student is performing well. A star rating system may provide the same concept for judging how well nursing homes service their patients. However, when the stars come from the general public, do they mean the same thing?

While some ratings come from government sources, others may originate from anyone, including those influenced by marketing. Discover some of the insight a star rating may reveal about the true nature of the care in a given nursing home facility.

Public perception and ratings

A nursing home is a business. As such, it engages in marketing to help drive up its population and profits. One way to do this is by soliciting online reviews. A nursing home may include a link for reviews in emails to the families of residents who had positive experiences. Since negative feedback would prove detrimental, the marketing department likely seeks out those they believe will provide only positive ratings.

Government marks and ratings

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services or CMS also provides a star rating for nursing home facilities. The results of these may give inexperienced people with an idea about factors when choosing a care facility, such as:

  • Fewer trips to the hospital
  • Decrease in mortality rate per month
  • Number of skilled nurses
  • Lower accident rates

The data used by CMS is not without flaws. For instance, it may not differentiate between home health care and nursing facilities. However, the CMS scores should give the public a more unbiased rating system.

Since many factors come into play when rating nursing homes, personalized recommendations in addition to star ratings may help decision-making.