The Importance of Nursing Home Reviews for Your Facility

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Written by Diana Campion, MSN, APRN, ANP-C Education Development Nurse, Content Writer, IntelyCare
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Reviewed by Alexa Davidson, MSN, RN Content Writer, IntelyCare
A nursing home resident, in a wheelchair, pets a dog while a nurse looks on.

Nursing home occupancy rates dropped to a low of 77.8 % during the COVID-19 pandemic, which placed a tremendous burden on healthcare administrators and facility owners to keep beds filled to avoid closure. Nursing homes that persevered had to assess their business closely to determine which aspects they could promote to help them succeed. One crucial factor that positions a nursing home to remain relevant in a competitive market is how well it ranks in its online nursing home reviews.

Investing in a proactive approach to online review management helps your nursing home maintain financial stability during dire times and flourish when circumstances normalize. To help your nursing home position itself for success, we’ll discuss online reviews and why nursing home reviews are important to growing your business and maintaining your industry reputation.

What Are Nursing Home Online Reviews and Ratings?

Online reviews are opinions or feedback published on the internet by residents or their families about their first-hand experiences and services they’ve received from their nursing home. These reviews typically have a five-star rating ranging from one being the lowest ranking to five being the highest.

Web search engines and social media are the most common platforms for finding online reviews. These three sites are the most popular, containing over 82% of online reviews:

  • Google Business: 73%
  • Yelp: 6%
  • Facebook: 3%

In addition to search engines, nursing homes can also find their online reviews and ratings on independent websites, such as Caring.com, and Medicare’s five-star quality home rating system: Care Compare. On this website, nursing homes are given a performance score between one and five stars. The overall rating is calculated based on health inspections, staffing, and quality measures.

Information on Care Compare allows potential residents to find and compare nursing homes using public reporting about factors impacting care, like nursing home staffing levels and the number of hours a resident gets with a caregiver per day. It also contains reported data from a nursing home’s annual health inspection, which is regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Why Are Nursing Home Reviews Important to Your Facility?

Now that you understand online reviews and know the most popular sites to find relevant reviews, we’ll discuss why they’re essential to your facility and how you can use them as a strategic tool to benefit your business.

1. Attract New Residents

Deciding to live in a nursing home can be difficult and potential residents and their loved ones will want to search for the facility that best meets the resident’s needs. Approximately 72% of all healthcare consumers read online ratings and reviews to assist their decision in selecting a new healthcare provider. Potential nursing home residents and their families are among the most likely to use online search engines in their research.

Potential residents and their families will likely review your Medicare five-star nursing home rating for resident safety and outcomes and balance it with online reviews, exploring your current resident’s satisfaction and experience. Reviews often form the patient’s first impression of the practice, influencing whether they’ll schedule a visit or continue their search.

If your reviews are favorable and you have an excellent response rate, potential residents can imagine living happily at your facility and will schedule a visit. This will attract significantly more residents than if you had a poor online presence, or no presence at all, which you can enhance with a social media strategy. As the saying goes, you have to be in it to win it.

2. Maintain or Boost Your Reputation

Maintaining an excellent reputation in healthcare is essential to your business of providing a home and support to an elderly population. Your ratings and reviews primarily make up your online reputation. Potential residents and providers looking to refer patients to nursing homes will only engage with facilities that they find trustworthy.

Positive nursing home reviews can build your reputation by increasing your credibility and trustworthiness. Nearly 70% of patients seek a minimum online rating of four or five stars when choosing a physician or facility. The better your nursing home’s reviews and stars, the stronger your reputation — translating to more interest and traffic, and increasing resident enrollment at your nursing home.

Conversely, a nursing home’s online negative reviews can destroy its reputation, especially if ignored. If your online reviews and star rating aren’t where they need to be, use that as a starting point to improve resident pain points. Once you’ve made improvements, ask them to update their review and ask other residents to also submit reviews.

When responding to negative reviews, remember to remain professional, don’t take it personally, and focus on addressing the issue. Not all reviews accurately reflect your services, and having a conversation with the resident and later responding to the review can quickly address misunderstandings.

Finally, managing a proactive nursing home with a resident-centered culture responsive to negative reviews and complaints is a powerful risk management strategy that can reduce liability exposure. Having a process in place to quickly address complaints, whether in person or by online review, improves your residents’ quality of care and safety.

3. Increase Your Reach, For Free

Strong online nursing home reviews not only attract new residents and bolster your reputation, they also increase your visibility in web searches for free. Online reviews help determine how the search engine results pages (SERPs) rank your website.

The better your reviews, the closer the SERP lists your facility at the top of the search page. This is essential to your business as the nursing home at the top of the page will get the most clicks, drawing consumers to your website, which is the first step in capturing a potential resident’s interest. The top Google result receives 33% more clicks than any other listings on the search results page, making it a top marketing priority for hospitals and health systems in competitive markets.

Healthcare consumers find online nursing home reviews necessary in formulating their decisions, making them essential for your facility. The more traffic and reach your website has, combined with excellent online reviews, the greater chance the potential resident chooses your facility as their new home. Online reviews are here to stay, making online review management strategies key to growing your business and industry reputation.

4. Identify Areas for Improvement

Reading through reviews can help you pinpoint areas where your facility may need more attention or resources in order to provide a better resident experience. Are there multiple reviews saying the food is bad? It may be time to review the resident diet system.

Feedback from reviews can also shed light on bigger issues in the nursing home, such as gaps in care related to poor staffing. This may be an opportunity to address reasons for staff and administrator turnover and which solutions to correcting short staffing may be worth implementing at your facility.

5. Build Trust Within Your Community

Reviews from satisfied residents and families can help build trust in your nursing home or long-term care facility, leading to more referrals from family members and friends. When readers observe a positive engagement between facilities and clients in online reviews, they’re more likely to trust you, too.

This can be a contributing factor in deciding where to send a loved one for care — a decision that weighs heavily emotionally and financially. With the average cost for nursing homes around $8,000 per month, it’s important for people to feel secure in their choice to place their family members in your facility.

Looking to Improve Your Nursing Home Reviews?

Now that you have insight into the importance of online reviews and their impact on your facility, you may be interested in solutions you can implement to improve your ratings. The IntelyCare newsletter provides valuable strategies to help improve your operations and resident satisfaction, taking your reviews to the next level.