119 North Carolina Nursing Homes Receive 1-Star Rating, Says Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

December 22, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), out of the 419 North Carolina nursing homes that are Medicare and/or Medicaid certified, 119 of them received 1-star ratings for the quality of care they provide residents. 68 North Carolina nursing homes were awarded 2-stars. Members of the public can visit the Medicare Web site for more information about each nursing home to help them more easily evaluate the kind of care residents are likely to receive at a nursing home.

Under the federal consumer rating system, patient bedsores, failure to relieve patient pain, significant staff turnover, urinary tract infections, lost mobility, long-term catheter use, and excessive use of restraints were some of the factors taken into consideration when determining how many stars each nursing home should receive. This new system, which rates some 16,000 US nursing homes, will hopefully prevent residents from getting into a home where they may become the victims of nursing home abuse or neglect, as well as discourage such negligent conduct from occuring.

In order to receive a five-star rating, a member of the nursing home’s staff had to provide residents with at least four hours of patient care each day. 57 North Carolina nursing homes received 5-star ratings. Out of 175 South Carolina nursing homes, 46 received 1-star ratings and 24 received 5-star ratings.

Critics of this new system say CMS should try to work with nursing homes to fix any problems before giving them low ratings. Jeff Horton, the head of the North Carolina Division of Health Services Regulation, says that while the ratings system can provide useful information, it is also important that potential residents and family members visit a North Carolina nursing home before making a decision.

What to Look for When Visiting a North Carolina or South Carolina Nursing Home:

• Note whether the location is convenient enough so that you or another family member can pay regular visits.
• Look at the staffing schedule and inquire about the caregiver – resident ratio.
• Check the nursing home for cleanliness. Note whether you can smell urine or feces and if the bathroom is clean.
• Ask about the availability of hot water.
• See whether residents and nursing home workers appear to engage with each other and notice how much attention the patients receive when it comes to grooming, medical attention, feeding time, and other activities that may require supervision.
• Inspect the kitchen for cleanliness.
• Find out about quality of food and how much attention is paid to each resident’s particular diet.
• Check out inspection reports to note whether the nursing home has a previous history of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Nursing homes in state rated low, News and Observer, December 18, 2008

Choosing a Nursing Home, AARP, January 2007

Related Web Resources:
Nursing Home Compare, Medicare

Nursing Homes, North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services


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