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Nursing Home Compare: How To Find The Best-Rated Home For Your Loved One

nursing home compare - adult daughter smiling at mom in a nursing home

With so many nursing homes available to your loved one, it can take time to make the best choice based on certain criteria.

If you wanted to do this the traditional way, you’d first create a list of nursing homes near you or your loved one, call the home to book a tour, and assess different factors such as environment, quality of service, and reviews to enable you to make the right decision.

Now, if you have at least seven (7) nursing homes on your list, that is a lot of legwork you have to put in.

The nursing home compare tool makes it easy for you to place nursing homes side by side, and see how they compare to each other. This enables you to weed your list quickly and helps you make the right decision in a short time.

The new CMS application process streamlines access to Medicaid services, ensuring that Medicaid recipients are well-informed about their options, and reports are regularly updated to reflect the most current information.

This development marks a significant stride forward in improving the quality of care for those in need, strengthening the vital link between government, Medicaid services, and the public.

What is a Nursing Home?

A nursing home provides the highest level of care for older adults outside of a hospital. It’s ideal for seniors who need constant medical attention that cannot be provided at home, but don’t need to be in a hospital setting. Skilled nurses and aides are usually available on-site around the clock.

Common services offered by nursing homes include:

  • Medical care
  • Activities of daily living such as bathing, grooming, eating, and transferring
  • Memory/Dementia care
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapy

While nursing homes try to keep seniors active, recreational activities or social events are not emphasized compared to other care options like assisted living.

A nursing home could be part of a hospital, a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), or a standalone.

Understanding the Nursing Home Compare

The Nursing Home Compare is a tool created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to help families, their loved ones, and caregivers easily identify and compare Medicare-and-Medicaid certified nursing homes. The tool is also useful to identify areas of the nursing home one would love to ask more questions about.

The Nursing Home Compare website uses a 5-star rating system to grade these homes based on quality; rating is from 1 to 5.

Nursing homes with 1-star have lower quality below average, while nursing homes with 5-star have quality above average.

An overall 1-5 star rating is given to each nursing home, however, there are separate ratings for factors such as:

  • Health Inspection rating
  • Staffing rating, and
  • Quality measures rating.

medicare nursing home ratings

Aside from the rating system, it also includes factors to consider such as:

  • Number of certified beds
  • If the nursing home participates in Medicare/Medicaid
  • Ownership type
  • If located within a hospital
  • If it has a resident and family council
  • If located within a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), etc.

Aside from comparing nursing homes, the tool also helps you find and compare other types of short-term care such as post-surgery rehabilitation and other forms of specialized care.

Key Rating Features in the Nursing Home Compare

As mentioned earlier, there are 3 rating criteria found on the Care Compare website. Let’s take an in-depth look at what they mean.

Health Inspection rating

In compliance with Medicare and Medicaid regulations, each year, health and safety, as well as infection control and prevention inspections of nursing homes are carried out. A nursing home can also be inspected based on a complaint submitted by a resident or an individual, or a facility self-reported incident.

The date of the most recent health inspection rating is also included in the comparison report.

Staffing rating

The staffing rating is a pointer to the level of care received by the residents. Two vital indicators are hours per resident per day and staff turnover.

Hours per resident per day shows the available hours staff can spend on a resident each day, while staff turnover refers to how many staff stop working at the facility for a given year.

As a rule of thumb, higher staffing levels (meaning more hours per resident each day), and a lower staff turnover, are indicators of high-quality care for residents.

Quality measures rating

Nursing homes are mandated to report clinical information for each resident. These and some other measures such as re-hospitalization after a nursing home admission, and an outpatient emergency department visit, etc., are used to calculate this rating and indicate how well a nursing home cares for its residents.

How to Utilize the Nursing Home Compare for Research

You can use the Nursing Home Compare tool to find nursing homes near your area, compare homes based on ratings, and be one step closer to finding the ideal home for your loved one.

Here’s an easy step-by-step on how to use the website.

Step 1

Visit the Nursing Home Compare website.

Input your street, ZIP code, City, or State to run the search. You can also input the name of a facility you’re considering.

Medicare nursing home compare

Once you click search, it’s going to bring up a list of nursing homes based on the location you added previously. It will look like this.

nursing home compare cms

As you can see from the image above, it pulled up 65 nursing homes in Nevada. You can filter your search results by distance, overall rating, and other ratings. When you click on view all filters, there are additional options to help streamline your search.

Step 2

Now, you can compare nursing homes side by side by clicking “compare”. You can only select 3 nursing homes at a time.

CMS nursing home ratings

Step 3

Analyze the report by comparing the overall rating, as well as health, staffing, and quality measures ratings. You can also click on each of the dropdowns for a detailed analysis of the ratings.

nursing home compare 5 star ratings

nursing home compare 5 star ratings

When analyzing the report to nail down your search, we’d say — find a happy medium. It’s unlikely to find a nursing home that has 5-star perfect ratings in all areas. For instance, it may be best to select one that is close, over one that is high-rated but far away.

This program provides consumers with full access to important reports, enabling them to make informed decisions about their loved one’s care. Through the five-star rating system, the government empowers the public to compare facilities on various terms, including health care, privacy policy, and provider rights.

This federal initiative aims to empower the public and consumers with comprehensive information about long-term healthcare facilities. The program allows individuals to access full reports and ratings on nursing homes, bridging the gap between provider and patient rights.

With a revamped privacy policy in place, this update not only prioritizes transparency but also enhances the privacy of personal health data. Consumers now have the right to submit feedback and access a five-star rating system, offering a clear menu of options to choose the best facility for their loved ones.

The Nursing Home Compare Won’t Tell The Whole Story

While this tool is fantastic, and makes it easy for you to make the right decision quickly, it’s only won’t tell the whole story.

Its major purpose is to show you quickly how nursing homes near you compare to each other. This will bring down your choice to at most 3 options you’re likely to move forward with, and would love to research further.

The next steps would be to visit the nursing home website and learn about their services, schedule a tour to see the home in person, assess the quality of their service, look up reviews, and make the right decision.

Making The Right Choice

Choosing the best nursing home using nursing home compare

Now you have at least 3 homes you’re likely to move forward with, here are some factors to consider when deciding on the best nursing home for your beloved senior.

Services offered

Does the nursing home offer services tailored to your loved one? What is the food quality like? It would be best if you already have a list of your loved one’s care requirements. This will make it easier to determine if the home can cater to your loved one.

Nursing Home Compare ratings

Trust the health inspection, staffing, and quality measures rating provided by the website. The higher the rating, the better the quality of care provided at the nursing home.

Staff-to-resident ratio

This indicates the proportion of staff to residents. While a 1:1 rating is ideal, it’s not obtainable for most nursing homes. However, the higher the staff-to-resident ratio, the better. It means caregivers are not burnout, and they can provide quality care.

Safety and security measures

The safety of your loved one is paramount when considering a nursing home. What safety measures are in place? Is there an emergency response, infection prevention, control, and other emergency preparedness system?

The health inspecting report from the Nursing Home Compare includes safety measures as well.

Social and recreational activities

While nursing homes may not be completely focused on social activities, it’s important older adults are active and engaged. Look for a diverse range of activities including social outings, exercise programs, and opportunities for interactions.

Location and accessibility

Nursing homes that are close to home, or in the same vicinity where your loved one may have lived for most of their lives give a sense of familiarity and may be easy to adapt to, compared to those far away. It’d also be easier for family members to visit.


Cost is a vital factor to consider when choosing a nursing home. Ensure you understand the costs involved, and that there are no hidden charges or sudden price hikes in the future. In addition, determine how you’ll pay for care. Medicare and Medicaid cover some nursing home costs. Find out what those are, and budget for those that aren’t.


While ratings from the Nursing Home Compare can be an indicator of the quality of the nursing home, peer reviews from resident and their family members are essential. You can easily find reviews on the website of the nursing home, their Google My Business profile, or other review listing sites like Yelp.


Choosing the best nursing home for your loved one is a critical decision that requires careful evaluation of different factors. The Nursing Home Compare tool is your first step to quickly find at least 3 best-rated homes you’re more likely to move forward with.

Next, you can further evaluate those homes, and make the right choice based on the factors we have discussed above. Be sure to visit the home in person, ask as many questions as needed, and trust your gut.

Amy’s Eden provides specialized care for older adults in our assisted home. With only 2-3 residents per home, our caregivers can offer personalized care based on your loved one’s needs.

From activities of daily living support to wound care, respiratory care, chronic condition management, dementia care, post-operative care, and end-of-life care, we can cater to the needs of your senior and help them enjoy their golden years in happiness and comfort.

Want to get started with personalized care for your loved one? Contact us today, we are excited to help!

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