Comparing Hospitals and Nursing Homes
What information is important in picking a hospital or nursing home?
- Is it accredited by The Joint Commission or another respected organization?
- How does it compare to other hospitals or nursing homes in the area in terms of infections and quality measures, success rates in treating your condition, etc?
- Does the hospital or nursing home have experience with your condition?
- Is my doctor on staff at this hospital? Will he/she visit this nursing home?
- Will my health plan pay for care there?
How do you find this information?
- Ask your doctor or nurse. Not only which hospital or nursing home they would chose, but why are they recommending it. Ask about specific things you want or need to be comfortable.
- Ask friends and neighbors. Remember things change all the time. Be sure they are talking about recent experiences and not things that may have happened 5 or 10 years ago.
Use websites carefully. There are many sites comparing hospitals and nursing homes. Some are better than others. Review the list of free and credible websites in the column to the right. As you visit websites, keep in mind :
- Who sponsors the site, and does this influence the information on it?
- How are ratings assigned? Based on a few patient experiences or the experience of many patients?
- How is the information collected? Self reports from the hospital or nursing homes, government reports, on-site inspections, etc?
- How recent is the information? It may be out-of-date.
- In the case of a nursing home, visit the facility. Here is a useful checklist of questions (Word document) for your visit.
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