- Health & Safety Inspections
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) inspects all nursing facilities on an unannounced basis at least once every 9-15 months. Inspectors look at everything from the resident’s quality of care and quality of life to the adequacy of staffing, cleanliness and safety of the facility to food preparation, medication administration and more. Each facility must make copies of their most recent inspections available to consumers.
Inspection results are also available online or you may call DPH’s Division of Health Care Quality at 800-462-5540.
The federal office of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services also monitors the quality of care provided by nursing facilities. Visit www.medicare.gov/nhcompare for more information.
In addition to state and federal quality reports, some nursing facilities seek accreditation from the Joint Commission, a private accreditation organization.
- Consumer Satisfaction and Other Ratings
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) surveys family members of nursing facility residents on a wide range of topics relating to their experience, including quality of care, attentiveness of the staff, residents rights, food, activities, and physical surroundings. In 2007 nine out of 10 family members said they would recommend their loved one’s nursing facility to others. To view the results for each individual facility go to www.mass.gov/dph/dhcq.
Recently the federal government released a 5 star rating system for all nursing homes based on health inspections, staffing, resident quality measures, and an overall facility rating. Be advised this information is updated monthly and should not be used as a substitute for visiting a nursing facility. You can view this information at www.medicare.gov/nhcompare or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE
- Advocacy and Support Services
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs provides advocacy services to residents of nursing facilities and residential care facilities (rest homes). Services are provided through 24 regional ombudsman programs and nearly 400 trained and certified volunteers who visit residents on a regular basis. The program receives and investigates complaints filed by or on behalf of residents, promotes resident rights, provides information on long term care, and works for positive change in the system. For more information and a list of local ombudsman programs, contact the Executive Office of Elder Affairs at 617-727-7750 or 800-882-2003 or view this information online at www.800ageinfo.com.