Finding a stellar nursing home for your loved ones is incredibly important, but it’s also extremely difficult. Great nursing homes are simply hard to come by, and that’s particularly true here in New Jersey.
According to U.S. News & World Report, nearly a third (32%) of New Jersey’s nursing homes have either a 1-star or 2-star rating in Medicare’s national comparison system. That means that a substantial number of senior citizens in our state end up living in low-quality geriatric facilities.
Medicare’s rating system assesses each nursing home on a 5-star scale, taking into account things like staff size, health inspections, the number of patients requiring antipsychotic medication, and various other quality measures. A 1 or 2-star award represents a relatively low rating overall.
Astoundingly, New Jersey’s 32% doesn’t even rank among the worst in the country. In eleven states, nearly half the nursing homes have terrible ratings. (Texas ranks dead last, with 51% of its homes faring poorly.) New Jersey, meanwhile, just barely falls in the bottom half nationwide, though it’s worth noting that we score much worse than most of the northeast.
Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that most experts believe the Medicare ratings are entirely too generous. In fact, until this year, almost all of the data used in computing the ratings was self-reported and unverified. While the federal government took steps to improve that situation earlier this year, it’s likely that the nursing home status quo may be even more grim than the U.S. News report suggests.
There is good news, though. Great nursing homes do exist. The problem is that they tend to be more expensive — and senior-care bills are already incredibly costly as it is.
None of us know whether we may have to live in a nursing home someday, but one thing is for sure: we’ll all face the costs of long-term care. The best way to prepare is simply to plan.
At Medina Law Group, we offer proactive planning services that empower you to secure your future today. Our solutions are manageable, effective, and affordable. We work closely with you and your family to shoulder your burden and make your goals attainable. Call our office to talk with a Mercer County elder law attorney today.