If you are choosing a nursing home, a May 11, 2018 article by Paula Span in the New York Times suggests an interesting addition to your arsenal of information: the Yelp app. The article is No Luck Finding the Right Nursing Home Maybe Yelp Can Help

According to Span, Yelp reviews are a useful addition, not because of their reliability, but because the “supposed gold standard,” our federal Medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare website, is “so faulty.”

As Span explains, Nursing Home Compare provides a star rating, based on on-site inspections, staffing, and quality measures. Although the website contains valuable information regarding on-site inspections, the staffing and quality components of the star system are reported by the nursing homes themselves and, according to a New York Times 2014 investigation, those nursing homes have figured out how to “game” the system. In addition, Nursing Home Compare includes no consumer feedback.

The New York Times article notes that Yelp reviews are valuable because they review different things than Nursing Home Compare. Yelp reviewers comment on a facility’s intangible qualities, such as the attitudes of its staff. And Yelp reviews will become more and more useful as people continue to post reviews.

Span’s article points out that Nursing Home Compare is making improvements to its rating system. And although none of the various rating resources is perfect, Span recommends starting your search online using Yelp, Nursing Home Compare, and other online resources, before you begin your nursing home visits.

The May 11th NY Times article on the Yelp app can be found here – No Luck Finding the Right Nursing Home Maybe Yelp Can Help

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