Nursing Home Patient

If you are searching for a nursing home for a loved one, the choices can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to evaluating the health care, staffing, and overall quality of a facility. To make the process more baffling, it’s not always obvious which criteria each site is using.

But help could be available by way of a study published in November, 2017. The USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology’s research revealed that nursing homes rated by Yelp reviewers received considerably lower ratings than those listed on Nursing Home Compare (NHC), the website administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). It turns out that both sites have their pluses and minuses.

Yelp: Charges of Fake Reviews

Founded in 2004, Yelp has over 145 million first-person reviews posted for every type of service, from restaurants to plumbers. Yelp reviewers emphasize subjective, personal experiences when it comes to health care of all types, including their own private assessments of costs, physical settings, and staffing. Yelp uses a one-to-five-star ratings system.

Yelp has faced charges of fake reviews in many categories, notably restaurants, in the past. Certain research has asserted that fake reviews and ratings could run from 16 percent to as high as 40 percent of all reviews. However, the researchers who did the USC study believe that today’s perceptive consumers, plus Yelp’s continuing work to jettison fake reviews, mitigate the impact of such reviews on the overall quality scale.

One bright spot: Yelp has entered into a partnership with the non-profit news organization ProPublica in order to report various government data items on its review pages, such as significant nursing home deficiencies and any resulting fines levied. It’s possible the partnership will further improve the quality of nursing home information on Yelp.

NHC: Incentives to Report Overly-Inflated Data

Nursing Home Compare has also faced accusations that the ratings system in place provides nursing home facilities the needed incentive to game the review system by reporting overly inflated data. Supposedly the ratings system was modified in 2009 to deter such activity. The charges that data on the site are overly optimistic could be one reason why NHC ratings are often higher than Yelp ratings. Consumers have also claimed they have difficulties understanding the ratings on NHC.

The problem of fake reviews may be more significant on NHC than on Yelp. Anna Rahman, the author of the USC report, stated that, “Regrettably, there is no easy or highly intuitive way to spot fake ratings on NHC [Nursing Home Compare]. However, we cannot say that Yelp is a better resource than Nursing Home Compare.” Rahman went on to add, “Our best recommendation is that consumers consult both resources, with the caveat that they must understand how each source generates its ratings.”

Nursing Home Compare also employs a one-to-five-star rating system.


According to the study, the Yelp and NHC ratings differed from each other more than three-fourths of the time. Additionally, Yelp ratings were considerably lower in three of the four categories used for reviews. These facts alone indicate that the more ratings data you can gather for your assessment, the better.

Other web sites where you can find nursing home ratings data are:

Always do your research, including evaluating the worthiness of your sources, and don’t rely on the information you find on just one review site.

Let “The Injury Lawyer” Help You When Your Elder’s Care Fails

When you place a loved one in a nursing home, you are entrusting their well-being and health to a staff that you hope is caring, competent and professional. Unfortunately, many elderly people suffer from various forms of abuse, including harm done by other residents that the staff overlooks or does nothing to prevent. Those in nursing homes can even be evicted without just cause, simply because they are too expensive or sick for the corporation running the nursing home. To resolve certain situations and obtain damages owed, you may need caring and compassionate legal assistance for your parent or other relative.

The law offices of Steven H. Heisler act on behalf of personal injury victims, including those harmed by nursing home injuries. Interested in more information on whether you have a valid nursing home injury or damages claim? Contact Baltimore nursing home abuse lawyer Steven H. Heisler today for a free initial consultation at 1-410-625-4878, or use our online contact form.