In 2020 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launched Care Compare; an online search tool that allows users easy access to data about the quality of care that local nursing home facilities provide.
This year CMS added detailed staffing data to the Care Compare tool. The agency hopes that this new metric will help future residents and caregivers make informed decisions about where to live and where to entrust their loved ones.
What type of information does the new tool incorporate?
In addition to the total number of nurse hours available to each resident on a daily basis, the new tool includes data about:
- Nursing hours provided to residents on weekends
- The level of nursing staff turnover annually
- The level of administrator turnover annually
Why is staffing information important?
From monitoring patient health and administering medications to assisting with daily living tasks like eating, bathing and dressing, the duties that nursing home staff perform are vital for residents’ wellbeing.
CMS research has found that the level of staffing and the rate of staff turnover can have a profound impact on the quality of care that nursing home residents receive. Without enough nurses, patients who need assistance with basic day-to-day care can suffer both physically and emotionally. Additionally, high turnover among staff and/or administrators can easily lead to oversights, inconsistency and poor facility management.
The CMS expects the new staffing information available on the Medicare Care Compare site to benefit patients, loved ones and care facilities themselves. In addition to fostering greater transparency about the quality of care available at various residences, the new rating system may encourage homes to prioritize hiring and retaining qualified nursing staff and administrators.