How Medicare's Nursing Home Compare Can Help You When Searching For A Nursing Home


Medicare's Nursing Home Compare allows you to find and compare nursing homes certified by Medicare and Medicaid. This website contains quality of resident care and staffing information for more than 15,000 nursing homes around the country. Nursing homes provide skilled care to people who can’t be cared for at home and need 24-hour nursing care. Skilled care includes skilled nursing or rehabilitation services to manage, observe, or assess a resident’s care. Examples of skilled care include occupational therapy, wound care, intravenous (IV) therapies, and physical therapy. You can learn more about other types of long-term care facilities here.

Medicare's Nursing Home Compare Link:

The information on Nursing Home Compare can help you learn:

  • How nursing homes have performed on health and fire safety inspections
  • How the nursing home is staffed with nurses and other healthcare providers
  • How well nursing homes care for their residents

Data sources:

The information on Nursing Home Compare comes from 3 key sources:

  1. CMS's health inspection database - Includes the nursing home characteristics and health deficiencies issued during the 3 most recent state inspections and recent complaint investigations. Data about staffing and penalties made against nursing homes also come from this database. Additional inspection data may be added to the database at any time because of complaint or facility reported incident investigations, outcomes of revisits, Informal Dispute Resolutions (IDR), or Independent Informal Dispute Resolutions (IIDR). These data may not be added in the same cycle as the standard inspection data. The following measures on Nursing Home Compare come from this data source:
    1. Health inspections data
    2. Staffing
    3. Penalties
  2. National database known as the Minimum Data Set (MDS) - Data for quality of resident care measures come from the MDS Repository. The MDS is an assessment done by the nursing home at regular intervals on every resident in a Medicare- or Medicaid-certified nursing home. Information is collected about the resident's health, physical functioning, mental status, and general well-being. These data are used by the nursing home to assess each resident's needs and develop a plan of care. The following measures on Nursing Home Compare come from this data source:
    1. Quality of resident care
    2. Staffing (resident characteristics used to estimate the amount of staffing needed)
  3. Medicare claims data - CMS uses bills that nursing homes and hospitals submit to Medicare for payment purposes to identify when hospitalizations and nursing home admissions take place. These are used to calculate hospital readmission rates, emergency room visits, and discharges. The following measures on Nursing Home Compare come from this data source:
    1. Quality of resident care

This information changes often, as residents are discharged and admitted, or residents' conditions change. The data on Nursing Home Compare should be used along with information from the Long Term Care Ombudsman's office, the State Survey Agency, or other sources. Please see the Nursing Home Compare Technical Users' Guide- Opens in a new window for more information on where the data comes from.

Information on Nursing Home Compare is not an endorsement or advertisement for any nursing home and should be considered carefully. Use the information you find on this website along with other information you gather about nursing homes. Talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider about the information on Nursing Home Compare. If possible, visit the nursing homes you are considering or have someone visit for you. You can also use the Nursing Home Checklist to get important information to help you make decisions about what nursing home best meets you or your family member’s needs. Read more about finding a nursing home.

Note: Nursing homes are not included on Nursing Home Compare if they are not certified by Medicare or Medicaid. Those nursing homes may be licensed by a state. For information about nursing homes not on Nursing Home Compare, contact your State Survey Agency. 

Medicare's Nursing Home Compare Link:

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