How to Find a Nursing Home

When choosing a nursing home, you must consider the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs of your loved ones.   The very best physical care is not sufficient if there isn’t adequate activity or stimulation to keep your loved ones alert and healthy.  By the same token, the best activity director cannot compensate for an understaffed facility if it means your loved one isn’t going to taken care of properly.

Understand Your Needs

Our directory of nursing homes offers quality ratings and other helpful information that Medicare compiles to help you conduct some background research on local facilities. This information can help, however, depending on your loved one’s health, some nursing homes may not be appropriate.  If your parent has Alzheimer’s disease, for example, or diabetes, those conditions require an additional level of monitoring that not every nursing home can provide.  Your physician may also be a helpful resource in identifying what health needs your loved one has.  In addition, her health will change as she ages, so it will be helpful to know what levels of care the home can provide in the future.



Selecting a Nursing Home is a major decision

Spend adequate time researching and visiting the nursing homes in your area.

But it’s so shiny!

In anticipation of the aging of the baby boomers, new nursing homes are cropping up continuously around the country.  They may look grand, with gorgeous grounds, elegant lobbies and garden atriums, but they come at a cost.  The newest facilities may not provide the best care for your loved one.  In fact, many older nursing home facilities have lower fixed costs because of their age and they may be able to give quality care at lower rates even if the surroundings are not as captivating.

Use Your Senses

Pay careful attention when you are touring a nursing home.  It should look, feel and smell pleasant.  Are residents encouraged to engage in activities as able and interested, or are they limited to staying in their beds?  Are staff members interacting with the residents in a respectful, friendly way?   Above all, trust your instinct.  While you aren’t likely to find a nursing home that’s perfect in every way, you should expect to find one where you can feel comfortable knowing that your loved one is being well-cared for in an environment as close to home-like as possible.

Why is Everyone New?

The staff and administration are the keys to a quality nursing home stay. The physical surroundings may look luxurious, but to some extent, that’s irrelevant.  A good indicator of quality in a nursing home is how long staff members have been with the facility. It’s simple – long tenures usually mean job satisfaction. These people probably enjoy working with residents and are likely to have a good rapport with their charges and dispense high quality care. Always ask about tenure and turnover rates.

Visit Several

You can conduct your initial research browsing our nursing home directory and comparing the quality ratings and inspection reports of the facilities in your area. You may be tempted to make a decision quickly if your loved one needs to make a fairly swift move.  However, we recommend that you then visit several nursing home so that you can adequately compare facilities, staff and available services.  It is helpful to make an appointment for each home you want to tour so that the staff can set aside time for you.  Don’t just stop at the public areas and ask to see several residents’ rooms.  If possible, join the residents for a meal or an activity.  If you get a chance, one of the best things you can do is take a walk through the facility on your own. Ideally, you could talk to a few residents and get a feel for their experiences.