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Government Tool Helps People Find Safer Nursing Homes [Infographic]

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To help put families and loved ones back in control over the health and finances of elders receiving care, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched Nursing Home Compare. The database gathers information from CMS, information from the Minimum Data Set (MDS), and Medicare claims information. It is estimated that between 1 to 2 million Americans over the age of 65 are victims of nursing home abuse each year. Of these, only 1 in 14 instances of physical abuse or neglect are brought to the attention of the authorities, and only 1 in 25 instances of financial exploitation are investigated.

The Data Tells the Story

The data gathered and shared within Nursing Home Compare makes it easy for families to search through the history of each nursing home. This makes it possible for them to make an informed decision regarding the health and safety of their family member(s). Notably, the data set includes information from the previous 3 state inspections, complaints, investigations, and information regarding staffing levels and any penalties that have been levied against the facility or its employees.

This information is combined with data from the MDS that shows information on each resident within a Medicare or Medicaid certified facility. This includes their physical and mental health, as well as their overall well-being. Finally, the information within Nursing Home Compare shows details about Medicare claims including readmission rates, ER visits, discharges, etc.

Making it Easier to Find Patterns of Abuse

Elder abuse is rarely a "one off" event, and it is quite common for established patterns to be discovered within the data sets. To make it easier for family members to search through the data quickly, the information gathered within the databases is used to create a star rating. The ratings range from 1 to 5 stars. In theory, the higher the facility's star rating, the higher the quality care and service.

The ultimate purpose of the new system is to provide families with the most accurate information available to protect their loved ones from becoming a victim of nursing home abuse. A nursing home abuse attorney can also help family members use the data to corroborate claims of abuse and demonstrate that patterns of abuse exist within a facility where a loved one resides.

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