Seniors today find themselves facing myriad options about their own health care, including choices about long-term health insurance, Medicaid, home health care, assisted living and nursing homes. Consumer Reports Complete Guide to Health Services For Seniors, written by Trudy Lieberman and the editors of Consumer Reports, offers hands-on, practical advice in a user-friendly format that includes worksheets, charts and comparative tables. Each major chapter ends with "Key Decision Points" so seniors have a useful checklist to make important long-term health care decisions. "Finding a good nursing home is a complicated task and one that should be investigated ahead of time, if possible, to determine options," says Lieberman, who is Director of the Center for Consumer Health Choices at Consumers Union. Lieberman has been reporting on consumer health issues for many years and is one of the nation's most respected consumer health journalists. The Guidebook lists eight tools to help people in making and comparing choices for nursing homes. Two new tools, released for the first time, are the Nursing Home State Detection Index and the Nursing Home Watch List by State. The Nursing Home State Detection Index shows how all 50 states and the District of Columbia stack up when it comes to detecting problems in nursing homes. State inspectors found that Michigan, California, Nevada and Arkansas rank at the top of the list indicating a high level of citation activity. The states with the lowest level of citation activity are Colorado, New Mexico, Connecticut and New York. The Nursing Home Watch List by State uses information reported by state inspectors who surveyed these facilities between July 1995 and October 1998, with the goal of gauging the quality of care delivered to residents. The Watch List was based on five criteria: (1) citations for failing to provide adequate access to the survey report, (2) high numbers of repeat deficiencies, (3) high severity deficiencies, (4) substandard quality of care deficiencies, and (5) high numbers of total deficiencies. The list cites the facilities with the most questionable patterns of deficiencies. The book also discusses assisted living facilities and options for keeping relatives at home with in-home or community support. In addition, the book includes ratings for Medicare HMOs and Medicare supplemental insurance policies in 30 cities. "The long-term care system in the United States is incredibly complex. Families must make many decisions regarding Medicare and insurance options, chronic care, assisted living, continuing care retirement communities, home care, nursing home care and end-of-life care. The book discusses all these facets of finding long-term care, and hopefully, it will make this task of finding good care for a loved one somewhat easier," says Lieberman. The book is published by Three Rivers Press and is available for $19.95 anywhere books are sold or by calling 1-800-500-9760. Research for Consumer Reports Complete Guide to Health Services For Seniors was underwritten with funding provided by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Commonwealth Fund, philanthropic organizations interested in health care. State-by-state details applying to the Nursing Home State Detection Index are available on request. The material is also listed on pages 224-225 in the book. A related article entitled "Is Assisted Living the Right Choice?" will be released in the January issue of Consumer Reports magazine, which will be available December 19 wherever magazines are sold. It will also be available beginning December 5th at 10 AM, EDT in the free area at the Consumer Reports Online website www.ConsumerReports.org.