5 Things to Know when Deciding on a Nursing Home

The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is hard enough.  Deciding which nursing home is even harder. Here are 5 things that will help make the right decision:

  1. Get a referral from friends and others.  There is nothing like the personal experience of others to rule-in and rule-out a nursing home.  Social media is a good tool to for getting recommendations.  If you are not on social media, find a friend or family member who is and have them post something for you.
  2. Research nursing homes in your area online to narrow your choices.  Medicare has a rating system it applies to all nursing homes based upon things like quality of care, staffing, inspection results, etc.  Medicare’s website allows you to enter your location and then it will display nursing homes in your area.  You can then review details on each home.  Make a list of potential homes and rank them in order of preference. Click the link at the end of this article to access Medicare’s nursing home compare website.
  3. Call nursing homes on your list and ask whether they are accepting new residents.  Not all nursing homes can handle just any resident.  Some health conditions require special care.  Be prepared to discuss your loved-one’s health status and care needs. If they are accepting new residents and are willing to accept your loved-one, don’t set an appointment for admission just yet.  Tell them you are still searching for the right place.
  4. Pop in to visit potential nursing homes on your list.  An unannounced visit is the best way to get a true feel of a nursing home.  Arrive at or during lunch or dinner time.  Not only will you get a feel for the environment itself, you should be offered a free meal. If not, ask.  Food quality is very important. Watch how staff cares for and assists residents during meal times, and generally. Try to assess whether there are enough nurse aids to care for all of the residents.
  5. Take your loved-one for a visit.  If your loved-one is able to understand their situation, involve them in the choice. Explain the process you went through to help them. If they are able, take them for a visit before you make the final decision.

Click here for to access the Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website to get started.