Brown University Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research has introduced a website designed for nursing home researchers that provides data on nursing home care in the US. The website states that its goal is to allow researchers to trace relationships between state policies, local market forces and the quality of long-term care and enable policymakers to craft state and local guidelines that promote high-quality, cost-effective, equitable care for older Americans. The National Citizens for Nursing Home Reform, a consumer advocacy group for nursing home residents and caregivers in nursing, homes, announced that the NCCNHR believes the site will also be enthusiastically received by many consumer advocates looking for detailed data and more sophisticated comparison tools than provided on other website such as Nursing Home Compare.
Vincent Mor, chairman of the Department of Community Health at Brown, was co-recipient of NCCNHR’s 2009 Public Service Award for his research on racial disparities in nursing homes; and he announced the impending launch of the website in his acceptance speech at the NCCNHR Annual Meeting Oct. 25. Mor demonstrated use of the database to identify racially disparate quality and access to care in two urban areas.
The website , www.LTCfocUS.org, is an interactive database which has gathered information from a number of government sources- Users can interact with the website by creating interactive maps and tables with comparative information about states, counties, or individual nursing homes.. It allows the user to create a chart comparing all nursing homes in a state. The broad range of variables from which to choose includes number of beds; for-profit and chain status; percent of Medicare and Medicaid beds; Alzheimer’s units; occupancy rates; age ranges, gender and race of residents; direct care staffing (RN, LPN, CNA); acuity of care; certain MDS quality measures; source of admissions (hospital or home); and 30-day rehospitalization rates (a potential indicator of quality not found on Nursing Home Compare). All data provided on the website are also available to download.
The website is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging-funded Shaping Long-Term Care in America project housed at the Brown center. While its stated purposes are to “allow researchers to trace clear relationships between state policies and local market forces and the quality of long-term care” and to allow policymakers “to craft state and local guidelines that promote high-quality, cost-effective, equitable care to older Americans.”
The more public information like this available to consumers, the more we will all know about the ability of nursing homes in our area to provide the type care necessary for our elderly. I applaud Brown University and Dr. Mor. I hope that not only consumers, but the operators of the nursing homes will use this website to compare what they are doing so the best care can be provided.