Resources: CMS Nursing Home Compare Website

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides a public report card for all nursing homes in the U.S. that can be found at

This website provides information about how a nursing home rates on the following dimensions:

  1. Quality of care measures
  2. Nurse staffing
  3. Annual state inspections.

Watch a brief demonstration of the website to see how to use it and how to interpret the information that you can retrieve from it.


On the CMS Nursing Home Compare website homepage, notice a couple of things that are communicated. In addition to looking at the ratings for a nursing home, users are encouraged to visit nursing homes and are referred to a “Nursing Home Checklist” at the bottom of the home page. I recommend that you review the checklist and download it.

To become oriented to the data you will be reviewing on Nursing Home compare, click “view important information on Nursing Home Compare.” Notice the tabs at the top. Click each and review the information that is presented for each topic?. One of the tabs is the “5-Star Rating.” This information provides the strengths and limitations of the data that inform the ratings given to nursing homes. It’s important to be aware of this so that you can use good judgment when you review a nursing home’s ratings.

Take note of other resources that are available to learn more about nursing homes and their ratings.

Now let’s select and compare two nursing homes so you can see how the data are presented. Click the “Find and Compare a Nursing Homes” button. You can see that I am looking for nursing homes in the zip code for the city of Mankato, MN.

The search finds four nursing homes in Mankato, MN.

Before we compare nursing homes, let’s drill down into one nursing home so you get a close look at the kind of information provided and how it is presented. I click on the first nursing home and can see general information about it.

You’ll see information about health inspections, nurse staffing, quality measures, and fire safety inspections. Information is presented with a star rating—five stars are the best and one star is the worst. To see specific information about the nursing home for each one of these four areas, I click “show information.”

Here’s what we see when I click “show information” for the health inspections. We can see the number of deficiencies that the facility received when they had their last state survey inspection and how that compares to the rest of the nursing homes in Minnesota and the United States. Scrolling down, you’ll find information about the nature of the deficiency and the scope and severity of each deficiency.

When I click “show information” for nurse staffing, we can see the amount of time each resident, on average, receives from the nursing staff in comparison to other nursing homes in the state and the United States.

By clicking “show information” for quality measures, you can see other comparisons with nursing homes in the state and the United States. These quality measures are specific for residents who have short stays in a nursing home, those who have longer stays, or those who will reside in a nursing home as their home. All of this information provides an interpretation of the 5-star rating system for nursing homes.

Going back to the results page of the website, we can compare up to three nursing homes side-by-side.

The information provided through the Nursing Home Compare website provides you with some insight about a nursing home and likely some guidance in selecting nursing homes to consider for student clinical placement. However, it is imperative that you visit the potential nursing homes, tour each facility, and interview the directors of nursing and nursing staff. During your discussions, you can explore any concerns regarding quality or staffing that you found on the Nursing Home Compare website. There could be valid reasons for the data reported on the website and the discussion should reveal what the nursing home administration is doing to improve the quality rating.

Question for reflection...

Select two nursing homes near your school of nursing. Use the Nursing Home Compare website to compare and contrast the two nursing homes. After reviewing the information about these two organizations, what questions would you have for the director of nursing?