How to Choose a Nursing Home

Choosing a nursing home is a difficult and important decision that we sometimes have to make.  The key to successful nursing home placement is having confidence that the facility provides consistent quality care and offers stimulating activities. There are three main criteria to consider in choosing a nursing home:

First, get recommendations from other friends or relatives that have had a personal experience.

Secondly, research possible facilities on Review inspection reports for those nursing homes that you wish to consider. The only nursing facilities listed are those that participate in the Medicare/Medicaid programs. Private pay facilities are not listed. They are inspected annually by the state agency that licenses long-term care facilities. Those results must be made available by each facility for public review. Virtually every nursing facility is cited for one or more deficiencies. Only focus on those deficiencies that have a direct impact on quality of resident care.

Lastly, visit the nursing home(s) that you are considering and be particularly alert to the following:

a.         Cleanliness

b.         Be aware of unpleasant odors

c.         Activities – are they varied and stimulating?

d.         Dietary programs – are the menus varied?  Are the residents offered alternatives?

e.         Staffing – does it appear that there is adequate staff to meet the needs of the residents?     Are call lights answered promptly?

f.          Does there appear to be compassionate care?