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5 Ways to Improve Nursing Home Quality Measures

Are you wondering how nursing homes can improve quality measures? If YES, here are top 5 ways nursing homes can improve quality measures.

In 1998, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) established a website called Nursing Home Compare that helps the elderly and their loved ones in finding and comparing the quality of care provided by nursing homes that accept Medicare and/or Medicaid.

There are approximately 16,000 nursing homes to choose from and in any given geographic area of the US, there are hundreds or at least tens of nursing homes to choose from. According to the CMS, this tool serves two purposes:

It provides an easy-to-use method for families to find and compare nursing home care quality, and it makes individual nursing homes accountable for the level of care they provide and can motivate them to increase their quality of care by pointing out areas in which improvement is needed.

The Quality of Care Measures tends to look at how well the physical and medical needs of nursing home residents are being met.

For this rating, CMS leverages  17 quality measures, ten measures apply to long-stay residents, or nursing home patients whose stays are longer than 100 days; seven measures apply to short-stay residents or nursing home patients whose stays are 100 days or less.

A quality measure for long-stay residents is the percentage of your patients with urinary tract infections. Infections are a primary cause of hospitalizations and re-admissions of nursing home patients—two other quality measures. Therefore, having the ideal products at the right time is necessary.

You should be able to do point-of-care testing, notably, a urinalysis to test for an infection. This is one of the places where staff education becomes very crucial again. A good nursing home should have an antibiotic stewardship program in place to match the patient’s test results with the antibiotic to treat their infection.

Ensure that the program is an incontinence assessment which may include the use of a bladder scanner because it will help you to determine what type of incontinence the resident has. That can reduce or eliminate catheter use (another quality measure) that can lead to infections.

How Can Nursing Homes Improve Quality Measures?

Indeed, improving performance on the CMS 17 quality measures can result in a higher star rating for your nursing home. Nonetheless, here are five sure strategies or tactics your nursing home can use to move the needle in the right direction on all 17 measures.

  1. Engaged Leadership

In the United States, culture starts at the top, and your nursing home is no exception. Quality improvement and quality measure reporting is expected to be a priority for your executives and your senior management. They have to convey their priorities to staff and residents by regularly engaging and interacting with them. If they show that it’s crucial to them, it will be crucial to everyone who works and stays at the nursing home.

  1. Staff Education

First, note that the CMS didn’t pick the 17 measures out of a hat. Those 17 measures were picked because it is believed that how you do on those measures reflects the quality of the care that you provide to your patients. It is imperative for your staff to know what those measures are and what the best practices are that map to those measures.

They are expected to have the competencies to execute on those best practices, and you need to validate their skills and knowledge on a regular basis.

  1. Effective Products

Ensure that your nursing homes should provide your staff with the right medical supplies and equipment to execute on those best practices that produce the best health outcomes for your patients. Aside from needing the right medical supplies and equipment, your staff needs them at the right time.

Have it in mind that the health of your nursing home patients can be quite very fragile. Even a short delay in diagnosis and treatment can send them downhill in a hurry.

  1. Staff Participation

This is very crucial and should involve everyone in the nursing home. Quality improvement and quality measure reporting aren’t just for your nurses or your nursing assistants.

You will have to understand that it covers everyone in your quality assurance and performance improvement, or QAPI, plan. That includes your dietary, housekeeping, and maintenance staff. Anyone who influences a patient’s care directly or indirectly must be on board.

  1. Holistic Care

Note that by including everyone in your QAPI plan, you are taking a holistic view of your patients. That is the definition of patient-centric care. It entails that you are focusing on the medical aspects of their care and on all the other things that can affect their health status and health outcomes.

You need to see the whole patient. Things like nutrition, mobility, socialization, and independence can be just as crucial as the drugs that they are taking.


The quality measure rating contains information on different clinical and physical measures for skilled nursing residents. This measurement is intended to indicate how well skilled nursing facilities are caring for their residents’ clinical and physical needs.

Your nursing home can do that by creatively applying those five techniques to each quality measure. Not only will your patients’ health improve, so will the health of your business. Higher scores entail more stars, and more stars entail more referrals from hospitals, physicians, and families.