Local News

Study: Low marks for half of N.C. nursing homes

Posted December 18, 2008 8:34 a.m. EST
Updated December 18, 2008 7:11 p.m. EST

— More than a quarter of North Carolina's nursing homes are "much below average," according to a federal rating system that begins Thursday.

The new system, intended to help families and caregivers easily compare the quality of nursing homes, rates the facilities on a one- to five-star scale in three categories -- health inspections, staffing and quality measures.

Those ratings are then averaged for an overall rating.

Out of the 419 nursing homes in the state, 119 received one star, considered much below average. Sixty-eight or more received two stars – below average – and 56 received five stars, the highest rating.

The low ratings reflect high staff turnover, bedsores, patient restraints and unrelieved pain.

National trade groups, however, say the rating system uses data that could be inaccurate or incomplete.

Officials in the long-term-care industry say the rating system shouldn't be the only factor in making a decision. They say visiting facilities is important part of the decision-making process.