The Medicare Five-Star Ratings system lends itself to the underlying assumption that one set of criteria can determine what’s best for everyone. This is simply not true. Each person entering a nursing home has different needs and wants, and therefore the priorities of what’s important are different for each individual. While some may need a good physical therapy department, others may not, yet they may desire a high rating for the quality of food served. The criteria for determining the best nursing home for your loved one should be as different and unique as the individual themselves.
In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses another topic covered in The Alzheimer’s Guide: Practical Advice for Families, Caregivers and Professionals and explains why the Medicare Five-Star Ratings system may not be the best, as the only criteria, to use when looking for a nursing home for your loved one.
Why the Medicare Five-Star Ratings for Nursing Homes May Not be as Meaningful as You May Think
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson and this is your Elder Law Minute. This is another in our series of videos that relate to things we talk about in our Alzheimer’s Guide. Today I want to talk about the Medicare Five-Star Rating system for nursing homes, maybe you’ve heard of it.
Probably a good idea, well-intentioned on Medicare’s part, to give people the means of evaluating nursing homes. But, I’m really not sure that it’s the most effective or reliable way.
First, if you’ll look in our Alzheimer’s Guide, there’s been a lot of criticism of the system and the ability of some nursing homes to “game” it, and it not always recognizing what the care community would recognize as the best facilities. But, beyond that what really bothers me about it is the underlying assumption that one set of criteria can determine what’s best for everyone. And that’s just not true. Let me give some examples.
Let’s say that one facility has a really good physical therapy department. Well, if you need physical therapy that’s really important. If you don’t, it really doesn’t matter. The quality of the food, if you’re a foodie, could be really important. If you really don’t so much care, or you’ve lost your tastebuds, then that doesn’t matter.
So, the lesson there is you can maybe start with objective criteria, but you’ll want to move on from that and look to things that are very personal in determining not what nursing home is best in general, but which one’s going to be the best fit for your loved one. And that’s not going to be the same nursing home for everyone. Thanks.
For more information on Alzheimer’s Guide Topics, visit these articles
- How to Evaluate a Geriatric Care Facility
- Memory Care: The relatively new option for Alzheimer’s care
- Alzheimer’s and the Unpaid Family Caregivers
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