How to Choose the Best Skilled Nursing Facility

Aug 9, 2022

Looking into a skilled nursing facility for your loved one? It can be overwhelming going over all the reviews and sorting through friends’ opinions.
That’s why it’s important (and so helpful!) to check out the ratings from the Centers for Medicare Services. They give each facility an overall rating out of five stars, which reflects the facility’s ratings in three categories: health inspections, quality measure ratings, and staffing ratings. This gives you an objective look at which facility is the best and makes the decision so much easier. Read on to learn more details and why California-based Generations Healthcare is a great choice.

What Does It Really Mean When a Facility Has Five Stars?
A five-star overall rating reflects a facility’s health inspections, quality measure ratings, and staffing ratings. But what does it mean to rate well in each of those categories? Let’s take a closer look.

Health Inspection Ratings

How well does the facility meet the Department of Health’s expectations? That’s what the health inspection rating tells us. Here’s how the scores break down:

  • The top 10 percent of skilled nursing facilities earn five stars.
  • The middle 70 percent of facilities earn two to four stars.
  • The bottom 20 percent of facilities earn one star.

“For people looking for a skilled nursing facility for their loved one, the health inspection is the main test the building needs to pass to show they truly are performing above the standards,” says Wendy Haining, Generations Healthcare’s education and development manager. “The overall star rating starts with health inspection. You can’t earn five stars overall unless you earn at least a three on your health inspection.”

Quality Measure Ratings

How well does the facility care for its residents’ physical and clinical needs? The quality measure rating answers this question by looking at 15 different quality measures chosen by the CMS. Here are a few examples:

  • Rehospitalization rate
  • New or worsening pressure ulcers
  • Independence of mobility
  • Rate of successful transition back home
  • Falls

Staffing Ratings

How many hours of care does each resident receive each day from nursing staff? That’s what the staffing rating tells us. The hours of care needed vary from facility to facility depending on the severity of the patients’ needs, and CMS takes that into account.

“No one wants to come to a facility if they don’t think there’s adequate care from employees!” Haining says. “The staff rating can help families feel comfortable that their loved one will receive the nursing care they need.”

Together, these three categories reflect the compassionate efforts of individual employees who form a safe, healing environment for residents.

“I applaud our employees for making these high-quality rankings possible,” says Steve Black, VP of operations at Generations Healthcare. “Their dedication, discipline and compassion enable us to provide the excellent, person-centered care we are known for.”

How Care Compare Helps You Choose

Now, here’s where to find (and use) the three ratings discussed above. Hop onto Care Compare, a tool created by CMS, to see the ratings of the facilities you’re considering side by side. In the example below, we’re comparing three skilled nursing facilities in the Huntington Beach area: Generations Healthcare’s Newport Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and two other local facilities.

An example of a chart comparing three skilled nursing facilities on Care Compare.

care compare chart

As you can see, it’s very simple to tell at a glance which facilities have the qualities you’re looking for.

Why Generations Healthcare Is a Great Choice

Now that you know how to interpret the CMS ratings, the next step is to find skilled nursing facilities that have high ratings. Generations Healthcare facilities offer just that! Let’s break down the 2021 rankings for Generations’ 24 facilities:

  • Twenty-two facilities earned five stars for quality measures.
  • Two facilities earned four stars for quality measures.
  • Eighteen facilities earned five stars overall.
  • Five facilities earned four stars overall.
  • One facility earned three stars overall.

“When calculating these quality rankings, CMS looks at processes, outcomes, patient perceptions and organizational structure and how they enable organizations to provide high-quality healthcare,” Black said. “These rankings are just one more indication that Generations Healthcare facilities are a trusted provider of excellent, patient-centered care.”

You can find a Generations Healthcare facility near you by clicking here.

Find a Generations Healthcare facility

It’s not easy to choose a skilled nursing facility for your loved one, but the CMS star ratings and Care Compare tool help. Once you know that the facility you’re choosing has great health inspection, quality measures, and staffing ratings, you can feel confident moving forward with your choice. So visit Care Compare to do a little research, and consider a Generations Healthcare facility for skilled nursing care you can trust.

A version of this article was originally published in the Daily Herald.