An article from the Washington Post titled Nursing-Home Ratings Earn Mixed Reviews discusses the debate about whether a new website run by the federal government to compare nursing homes is meeting the public's needs.
The online tool rates nursing homes on a scale of one to five stars for such measures as number of employees, state health inspection results and how many hours of licensed nursing care are provided each day.
The nursing homes industry is complaining that the grading system was started much too quickly and that the information, gleaned from homes as well as from state inspection reports, misleads families and patients because it doesn't give an accurate picture of the amount and kind of care in each facility. For example, nursing homes say simple counting of workers does not reflect the care patients actually receive, while consumer advocates complain that employee information that comes from homes is unchecked and may contain errors.
While I tend to agree that most any "rating" system (especially one that is run by the government that does not include actual customer feedback ) has its limitations, these tools do offer consumers a starting point in which to begin their evaluation.
But with the growing aging population and the increased demand for all types of elder care products and services I believe a Yelp type service is desperately needed in senior care. I know of a few companies working on this model (none have critical mass yet) and there will be some excellent business opportunities here. There is nothing like customer feedback to give an accurate assessment of a product or service.