According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, of the over 15,000 nursing homes throughout the United States, nearly 1/3 of them receive a rating of 1 or 2 stars on a 5 star scale. The rating system is implemented and overseen by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and is based on reported deficiencies. One of the scariest aspects of this study is the fact that much of the abuse and neglect that occurs in nursing homes goes unreported. If over 1/3 of the nursing homes are considered low rated homes based on the reported deficiencies, the actual number of substandard nursing homes is likely much higher. So how do you choose a "good" nursing home? Ratings are one way to start, but they shouldn't be your only source of information. It is important to visit the nursing home, ask questions, talk to staff, talk to visiting family if you see them in the halls. Do everything you can to get as much information on the nursing home as you can. While a poor rating or great rating can be a good starting point in your research, it is important to remember that the rating is only the beginning. Take your time with your nursing home search, and remember that this is the place where your loved one is going to be possibly be residing for the rest of their life. Making the right decision in the beginning can make a significant difference in your loved ones quality of life. If you suspect that your loved one has already been a victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, or if you simply want to receive more information on choosing the right nursing home, call an rating system today to learn about your rights under the law.