How to Evaluate a Nursing HomeNursing home care is not something that many people always consider as they plan for the future.  However, this kind of care may become a necessity when someone finds they need long-term care.  Whether it is for their own care or that of a parent or other loved one, it can be overwhelming to be faced with beginning nursing home care.  What may be equally daunting is the task of determining if the home can meet all of you or your loved one’s needs.  Here are some things to consider when evaluating a nursing home:

Medicare/ Medicaid Certified

When looking for a nursing care facility, it will be essential to determine if the proposed home is Medicare and Medicaid certified.  Both Medicare and Medicaid have specific standards which must be met by a facility in order for the facility to be paid by these programs.  If your loved one is relying on either of these programs to pay for their care, checking to make sure the facility is approved will be essential.  Additionally, these certifications can be an indicator that the facilities have taken additional measures to ensure they have articulated standards in their quality of care.


Identifying a nursing home facility which is close in proximity to family and friends is ideal.  Having your loved one nearby will help ensure that you can visit them and include them in celebrating special occasions such as holidays and birthday celebrations.  Additionally, by being close by you will be able to come to the nursing home at various times.  Being able to drop in and observe the conditions of the nursing home at unexpected times will help you observe the consistency and quality of care the residents are receiving.


If at all possible you and your loved one should visit the proposed nursing home.  While you are there, take note of characteristics of the surroundings such as the cleanliness, the way staff interact with the residents, any sounds such as cries from residents, any concerning scents, and the quality of the food.  During the visit, you should ask questions about any concerns you have about the conditions of the home.  For instance, if you hear a patient yelling and note that staff members are not responsive, the reason may be that the patient has a condition which causes them to cry out for no apparent reason or it could be that the staff are overworked and are unable to meet his needs.  The manner in which the staff responds to your questions will be helpful in determining if the home is right for your loved one.


One area worth investigating in a nursing home is the activities offered to residents.  Does the nursing home provide its residents with the opportunity to participate in the kinds of recreational, social, religious, or cultural events which your loved one would value? Another consideration is whether the home provides transportation to community outings for residents.

Choosing the right nursing home is an important decision.  Ultimately, it will be critical that you examine any proposed care environment with scrutiny to be sure your loved one will be in good hands.

Our office has experienced and knowledgeable elder law attorneys who can help you explore nursing home options and determine how best to evaluate the care your loved one will receive. Please contact us online or by phone if we may be of assistance.

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