New website provides important information on nursing homes

Earlier this year, the Boston Globe featured an alarming series about the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes in Massachusetts and the rest of the United States. It was evident that many nursing homes were using the powerful drugs as a way to sedate residents who didn’t otherwise need the medication.

This and other reports of nursing home abuse and neglect have led many families to flounder over which nursing home to trust with caring for their loved ones. Luckily, the process will be made easier thanks to a federal website that provides important information on the nation’s nursing homes.

New revisions to the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare website give families insight on everything from inspection results to the number of residents who reported being in moderate to severe pain. Additionally, the web site provides specifics about each nursing home’s use of antipsychotic drugs.

While much of this information has been available to the public in the past, this is the first time information regarding the use of antipsychotic drugs has been released.

A spokesperson for the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said the new data will allow consumers to make more informed choices as well as encourage nursing homes to provide better care.

When family members are trying to decide where a loved one should live, they can use the web site to compare up to three facilities at a time. The web site also shows where the facilities are located on a map and contains a glossary to help explain medical terms.

Source: Boston Globe, “Federal websites updated with data on hospital imaging, use of antipsychotics in nursing homes,” Kay Lazar, July 19, 2012