If you're wondering how your nursing home performance is conveyed to consumers nationwide, a national non-profit organization can help you find out. The Informed Patient Institute (IPI) has identified and recently evaluated over 60 nursing home report cards in the country. IPI doesn't rate individual nursing homes, but they'll tell you who does.
The IPI database includes report cards sponsored by state governments, the federal government and non-profit or for-profit companies. It uses an A-F rating system that indicates which report cards are better than others. Rating criteria include the breadth of content on the site (i.e. whether there is information about quality, staffing, cost, satisfaction etc.); timeliness and presentation of the data; ease of site use; and whether it provides support information to help choose a nursing home. IPI also notes what is good about each report card site and what could be improved.
Included in the reviews are national report cards such as Nursing Home Compare, UCompare Health Care and US News & World Report and state reports--many of which convey information about state inspection and complaint investigation results. Other report cards offer a broader array of information about nursing home performance. In California, for example, residents can access CalQualityCare.org, an IPI top-rated non-profit site that offers a wide range of information about nursing homes in a consumer-friendly fashion. The California site tells users which homes are superior and which homes are poor.
In some states, IPI visitors can also find a "Tip Sheet" that outlines what to do if a patient or family member has a concern about quality in a nursing home. In plain language, the Tip Sheet walks through the steps one should take, from talking to the nursing home staff about a quality concern, to going to the local Long Term Care Ombudsman, to filing a complaint with the state or other oversight bodies. Tip Sheets are also available about what to do if you have a concern about a hospital or doctor. They are currently available in California, Maine, New York, and Pennsylvania and IPI is working on developing them in other states before the end of the year.
Finally, the IPI site also includes links and short descriptions of a range of national and local organizations that provide consumer information about quality and patient safety in a variety of health care settings - including nursing homes.
IPI is a Maryland-based non-profit organization that was started by a Gerontologist, Carol Cronin, who has been tracking the fields of quality and patient safety for many years.
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