Not everyone believes in star ratings for nursing homes – Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

CHAMPAIGN — When her family was shopping for a nursing home for her stepmother in Tennessee, Kristina Kerst-Day always got a good feeling from the way the staff members at one home answered the phone and were able to answer her questions.

“Every person who has answered that phone has been amazing,” she recalled.

A veteran Illinois nursing home administrator, Kerst-Day and her family did what long-term care experts advise when choosing a nursing home — including making in-person visits to the homes they were considering and talking to the staffs.

She looked at the 5-star quality rating for the home they chose on Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website. But she already knew that number wouldn’t provide a complete picture of what’s behind a nursing home’s doors.

“Even if a facility isn’t great on paper, it’s really good to look at it,” she said. “It may be a 5-star in person.”

Medicare’s 5-star quality rating