Lee Bowman and Thomas Hargrove of Scripps Howard News Service looked into nursing homes around the country and found the quality of care to be quite uneven, highlighting the difficulty of finding a good nursing home.
Photo by by ulrichkarljoho via Flickr.
Despite the differences in care, Bowman and Hargrove were able to draw some conclusions from their analysis of the Nursing Home Compare data:
- Institutions run by for-profit corporations generally get lower scores than those run by nonprofits.
- Homes with more nursing staff per patient generally do better in the ratings.
- Homes with more than 100 beds tend to get lower scores
- Ratings are lowest in South and highest for homes in the Northeast.
- Slightly more than 20 percent of nursing homes nationwide have been regularly given the lowest ratings, and 12 percent to 13 percent have received the top rating.
Bowman found that, because of medical concerns, many families are forced to choose a nursing home on a very tight timetable, usually related to a loved one’s hospital discharge date. Concerns like expedience and geographic proximity, then, often end up trumping nursing home quality. To help better direct this process, Bowman offered “Ten things to consider in nursing home care,” only one of which directly relates to the Nursing Home Compare database.
For ideas on how to localize stories on this general theme, check out the rest of the Scripps package.