Nursing Homes: The Good and the Bad
Medical professionals, a social worker and an industry group respond to a front-page article about the five-star rating system.
March 21, 2021
To the Editor:
Re “To Lift Ratings, Nursing Homes Shroud Neglect” (front page, March 14):
I am an elder-care specialist who has witnessed firsthand the less than optimal conditions in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, some of which have even earned five-star ratings.
The information on the Medicare website that tracks these facilities can be misleading and distorted. A lack of surprise inspections and reliance on self-reporting lead to limited disclosure about staffing, infection rates, medication errors, neglect and abuse.
I urge families to research the facilities through in-person visits to observe the environment, ask questions about care and activities, and promote discussions with resident family members.
The pandemic has illuminated deficits in long-term care facilities that must be addressed. Our seniors and loved ones are vulnerable and deserve more than fanciful reports and stars that are ultimately meaningless.
The writer is a social worker.