A recent report prepared for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by the RAND Corporation examines nursing home selection statistics in six states. The purpose of the report was to determine how the million-plus elders headed for senior care every year make their choices. Researchers determined that generally consumers do not take full advantage of the information available to them about the country’s nursing facilities. Many respondents to the research surveys indicated the information they needed or wanted was not readily available, or they were not aware of how to find such useful tools as facility inspection reports. Many also reported that internet resources, such as Nursing Home Compare, were not “user-friendly.”
Research participants were most likely to rely on lists of facilities that provide general information such as location, supplemented by word of mouth and more easily observed characteristics of the facility that reflect a sense of quality of life. In general, consumers based their facility selection on information often not available on internet-based resources, such as information on costs and what activities are available in the facility.