How Do I Find the Right Nursing Home for my Loved One?

The process of finding the right nursing home for a loved one can be daunting.  Since the decision can be so overwhelming and is often made amid very stressful circumstances, many clients tell me they don’t even know where to begin.  Here are the steps that I suggest for those faced with making this difficult decision:

Define Your Criteria: Determine what factors are most important to you and your loved one. Consider aspects like location, quality of care, staff qualifications, facilities, cost, and any specific medical needs your loved one may have.  If your loved one will be applying for Medicaid, then make sure the facility accepts Medicaid and that your loved one will be in a Medicaid-certified room.

Online Research: Start by searching online for nursing homes in your desired area. Websites like Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare ( provide ratings and reviews.  Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website also provides access to the state inspection reports for each facility.  These reports detail any violations or deficiencies found during inspections and can give you a better understanding of the facility’s overall quality of care.

Visit Nursing Homes: Visit the facilities that you’re considering. During the visit, pay attention to the cleanliness, atmosphere, and interactions between staff and residents. Observe how staff members engage with residents and each other.  Ultimately, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right or if you have concerns about a particular facility, it may be best to explore other options.

Ask Questions: Prepare a list of questions to ask during your visit. Inquire about staff-to-patient ratios, staff turnover rates, training programs, safety protocols, recreational activities, and meal options. Also, ask about any specific medical services or therapies your loved one may need.

Review Contracts and Policies: Carefully review all contracts and policies.  Make sure you understand the terms and conditions before deciding.

Consult Healthcare Professionals: Seek advice from healthcare professionals, such as your loved one’s doctor or a social worker, for recommendations or insights into suitable nursing homes.

Follow Up: After admission, continue to monitor your loved one’s care and well-being. Stay in regular communication with the nursing home staff and be proactive in addressing any issues or concerns that arise.

By following these steps and conducting thorough research, you can make an informed decision about which nursing home is best suited to meet your loved one’s needs.