Interactive Map: New Jersey Nursing Home Ratings

What do inspections reveal about the quality of life at NJ's nursing homes?

The number of problems found by inspectors during the three most recent inspections of nursing homes throughout the state. To see more specifics, click on a district on the map.

Source: NJ Spotlight analysis of data from ProPublica

The most recent data on inspections of New Jersey nursing homes show a wide range of differences in the number of violations found at facilities.

An analysis of the results of the three most recent inspections by the state Department of Health found only one problem at 29 of 331 nursing homes that accept Medicare or Medicaid patients, or 9 percent of all, in their most recent inspections conducted between February 2011 and July 2012.

Another 18 percent, or 60 nursing homes, had more than 10 violations, with 11 of those having more than 20 problems discovered.

This is already a concern for some 42,000 New Jerseyans age 65 and older who live in nursing homes and similar facilities, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau for 2011.

And as the baby boomers age into their 60s and beyond, it will become a concern for a growing number and their loved ones.

State officials inspect homes on contract with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to ensure the facilities meet federal standards and provide acceptable care to residents.

Inspectors typically spend several days at a location, checking compliance with about 1,500 state and federal regulations involving such areas as residents’ rights, dietary services, housekeeping, staffing and quality of care.

On average, nursing homes are inspected once a year, more often for those with a pattern of deficiencies. Additionally, inspectors visit facilities to conduct investigations after complaints are received – about 2,650 complaints in New Jersey each year.

The inspection reports are public, so families of residents and people looking for a facility for a loved one can monitor the quality of nursing homes. There are several places to find inspection data online NJDOH’s Division of Health Facilities Evaluation and Licensing gives summaries of findings.

In addition, CMS’s Nursing Home Compare database breaks ratings down by type and also includes links to the most recent inspection reports.

Finally, ProPublica has aggregated data into a form users can search by keyword. Its Nursing Home Inspect website includes more than 100,000 deficiencies found in nearly 15,000 nursing homes across the country since January 2011.

The group intends to update its database regularly. Its analysis of the data last August found that most deficiencies fall into relatively mild categories, although there were hundreds of cases of residents wandering away from a home.

NJ Spotlight’s map of the data shows that facilities with few violations and those with more violations are spread through all parts of New Jersey. The inspectors assign a severity rating to each violation. These range from problems having the potential to cause minimum harm in isolated cases to violations that could result in actual harm or danger to large numbers of residents. The data for each facility lists the number of violations found in each of the three most recent inspections done since February 2011 and the rating for the most severe problem found.