Choosing A Nursing Home: A Concise Guide

Choosing A Nursing Home

Finding a nursing home for a loved one can be difficult and time-consuming. Experts say you should break it down, beginning with deciding whether a nursing home is the right fit or when it is the right time. But what comes next after deciding?

If you’ve confirmed that a nursing home is the right one for you or your loved one, your next steps would be choosing and looking for the perfect one, and we are here to guide you. 

Below is a complete guide to help you choose the ideal nursing home for you and your loved one.

Step 1: Look for a nursing home

There are several ways you can find nursing homes in your area:

  • Ask those you can rely on, such as your loved ones, friends, or neighbors.
  • You may ask your doctor whether they offer care at nearby nursing homes. They could be able to take care of you while you’re in the nursing home.
  • Use the Eldercare Locator or an Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC).
  • Call the senior and community activity center in your area.
  • As early as possible during your hospital stay, ask your social worker about release planning if you’re in the hospital. When you’re prepared for discharge, the hospital personnel should be able to assist you in finding a nursing home that fulfills your requirements and in arranging your transfer.

It’s a good idea to think about what you want once you know your options. What matters most to you: hospice care, specialized dementia care facilities, nursing care, food, physical therapy, or a religious connection? Do you desire a location that is convenient for visiting family and friends?

Step 2: Compare the quality of the nursing homes you’re considering

When researching nursing homes and the caliber of care offered, comparisons like those on the Medicare and Medicaid websites can be a helpful beginning point. This data is from additional sources, such as the long-term care ombudsman. Many facilities might offer survey findings to shed light on the care provided there.

It is also useful to compare nursing homes using other review-sharing websites, such as Yelp has reviews of skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, even though it is most well-known for its restaurant reviews.

Step 3: Visit the nursing homes you’re interested in, or have someone visit for you.

Visit the nursing homes after giving thought to what’s important to you in one. It’s wise to tour potential nursing homes before choosing one that best suits your needs.

By paying a visit, you can see the residents, staff, and nursing home environment. You can converse with residents and their families and look for signs that can tell you the state of the facility..

Ask a family member or friend to visit the nursing home if you need help to do so yourself. Although you can also contact them for information, a visit will allow you to observe the residents’ standard of living and care.

Below are some questions to ask during your nursing home visit from

What to check for in the nursing home staff:

  • What is the ratio of nurses and nursing assistants to residents? Inquire about staffing ratios and how they stack up against regional and global averages.
  • Do the managers and medical staff members have geriatrics or long-term care specialties?
  • Does the medical director possess the training necessary to serve in an engaged capacity? Do they possess the title of Certified Medical Director (CMD)?
  • Are the main personnel (administration, therapy, nursing, activities, etc.) employed full- or part-time?
  • How long have the nursing home’s managers and nursing personnel been employed there?
  • Are all employees needed to receive an influenza vaccination? What percentage of employees receive the influenza vaccine if it is not mandated?
  • Who will replace the resident, and how accessible is the doctor or nurse practitioner?

What to check for in the nursing facility:

  • Is the care facility tidy?
  • Is the building kept up well?
  • Are the rooms big enough? Is there enough space between the beds to establish a private area for personal items in semi-private rooms?
  • What are the available private and recreational spaces?
  • Do any safety elements like grab bars and railings exist?
  • Does Medicare or Medicaid have a certification from the state and the home?
  • How close are relatives to the nursing home? How far away is the closest hospital?

What to check for in their services:

  • How does the food taste? Examine a sample menu and request a planned weekly menu to see how things change each day of the week.
  • What are the prices of basic services? Which services are included?
  • What are extra services offered? What is their price?
  • What happens if someone requires medical care yet is cash-strapped?
  • Has the hospital or primary care office given you enough details about the diagnosis, meds, and other care you’ll need while in the nursing home?

What to check for in current residents and their families:

  • Do the residents seem content and involved? Or extremely drugged and sleepy? Do they appear tidy and groomed? Do they strike you as the kind of folks you’d like to get to know? Their reactions to you are what?
  • Try to keep an eye out for social occasions like meals or other events. Are residents receiving prompt assistance, if needed, with eating and traveling to and from the gathering places?

If you see a family visiting, you can ask them about their impressions of the home and how their loved one has been treated.

Step 4: Choose the nursing home that best meets your needs. 

Once you are fully informed about the nursing homes you are considering, consult with those familiar with your needs for personal and medical care. This can apply to your loved ones, close friends, medical professionals, clerics, sages, hospital discharge planners, and social workers.

An agreement must be completed after selecting a care facility. It is crucial to have an elder law attorney analyze this contract to ensure that there are no unstated terms, such as holding a child liable for non-payment or requiring a resident to wait a certain amount before applying for Medicaid.


Families can choose the ideal nursing home by following these procedures. Although several families require a nursing care facility immediately after being hospitalized, the majority have time to plan. Following these guidelines can assist you in avoiding making a choice that is not best for the loved one who needs care if time is not an issue. Families must obtain as much information as possible while making long-term care decisions.