Help to Find Quality Care


Help to Find Quality Care

handshake_man_womanWhen you entrust your caree into the care of another, you wish for good care. So, when you begin the search for quality care, whether in the home or in the nursing home, you may wonder where to start. Begin with free tools available from and

Home Health Compare, available at, helps you when you're considering hiring in-home help through a Medicare-certified home care agency. A Medicare-certified agency will have nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers and home health aides on staff.

The tool shares both results of patient surveys and the quality of patient care in five categories, including:

  • Managing Daily Activities

  • Managing Pain and Treating Symptoms

  • Treating Wounds and Preventing Pressure Sores

  • Preventing Harm

  • Preventing Unplanned Hospital Care

(I'll share tips on finding a quality home care agency that isn't Medicare certified tomorrow.)

Use Nursing Home Compare to learn about skilled nursing facilities in your or your family member's community. After entering your city or zip code, you'll receive the results of your search. You'll see an overall rating plus individual ratings for Health Inspections, Staffing and Quality Ratings. Facilities receive from one to five stars in each category; the more stars, the better. Nursing Home Compare bases its five-star rating on the annual state inspections of facilities; you can click to learn more about each facility, including when the last inspection took place and the inspection results. You also can compare a facility's rankings to the state and national averages.

Nursing Home Inspect, created by the non-profit journalism organization ProPublica, lets you dig into the details of recent nursing home inspections, most completed since January 2011. According to ProPublica, "Our search engine looks through the narrative portion of the inspection reports — the part where inspectors describe conditions in the home and any deficiencies they discovered. This is where the details are." (Note that you also can request a copy of a facility's most recent inspection.) Before using Nursing Home Inspect, read its tip sheet, which will help you understand how to search effectively as well as how to understand your search results. This tool can be helpful as you decide between facilities; you'll have a better understanding of which facility meets your quality standards.

As you search, keep in mind that you are the best influencers of quality care. Be active and involved in your caree's care--you are the most critical member of your caree's care team. Ask questions, be assertive about your concerns and follow-up to ensure care plans and treatments stay on track. Because of your involvement, your caree receives quality care.

--How to Find a Good Nursing Home
--How to Choose a Nursing Home
--US News & World Report Releases Best Nursing Homes 2013

Like this article? Share on social