Many of you may have heard about the 5-star rating of nursing homes now available through the website www.medicare.gov. However many of you probably have not looked into the method providing the 5-star rating. Interestingly enough several of the rating categories are “self-rated”. This means that the nursing homes listed in the surveys have “self-rated” themselves, making it easy to become a 5-star candidate. When I looked at the list I was shocked at some of those listed as 5-star as my personal experience would indicate otherwise. Some who listed themselves as 3-star were some of the better communities. As always this information must be accepted with a high degree of caution on the part of the reader. When in doubt, contact your local ombudsman to ask about quality of care at the nursing home you are considering. They can usually provide a good independent opinion regarding the level and type of care provided.