Nursing homes' problems revealed in new online tool

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The elderly people pass through a stage in life that is considered the last, where the life’s projects are finished, but where it is possible to enjoy this phase in peace. However, considering that many seniors are retired (with decreasing incomes in the best case), the health problems related with age, and the significant aging of all populations, the aging of people raises new challenges to all members of all societies, and of course to families, around the world.

Related with this topic, the article explains how a nonprofit organization (Propublica) developed a free tool to organize and show thousands of deficiencies at nursing homes in the U.S. As it is mentioned in the article, until recently people have had to visit nursing homes, a government agency or file a Freedom of Information Act requests to see inspection reports, but this year the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began posting the reports online, that have been completed since January 2011, and the new ones, as they become available. The new tool allows consumers, researchers and others to see trends and scope of the problems, using a search engine that looks trough the narrative portion of the inspection reports. It also categorizes the severity and the type of the reports allowing users some basic comparisons between nursing homes.

Finally, although the tool is a great help for the families that are looking for a nursing home for their elderly members, collect and categorize the experience of other families and improve the communication with the nursing homes administrators could be an interesting path to follow to enhance the mentioned system. There is also interesting challenges in the way that institutions supervise nursing homes, because more specific and organized reports and evaluation of positive features could also help in the process.