December 22, 2008

Federal website surprisingly good

There are few things in this world more anguish-ridden than having to move a loved one into a nursing home. The emotion of the task is further complicated by the challenge of trying to choose the right place.

Almost unbelievably, the federal government has offered up a website that promises to help inject some valuable information into the process. They have boldly rated nursing homes using a Five Star scale, evaluating factors like health conditions, overall quality, and staffing.

I am most familiar with three Nebraska nursing homes, located in Chadron, Crawford, and Hay Springs. I’ve heard much about facilities in Belle Fourche and Spearfish, South Dakota, and my own anecdotal experience with these nursing homes is consistent with the government ratings found at I was not surprised that nursing homes in Belle Fourche and Crawford fared well.

Of course, there’s no substitute for scrutinizing nursing homes through a personal visit, and this website can help provide a head start in preparing for such visits. Critics may say the ratings are flawed, but we believe they are a valuable resource for persons wanting to learn more about how nursing homes stack up, and what kinds of things to look for when examining nursing home options.

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