How to Choose a Nursing Home
Before you get started
Every week thousands of people enroll in a long-term care facility. These decisions are influenced by a variety of factors: location, cost, quality, level of care, reputation, etc. Choosing the right long-term care is not an easy task. There are many options. Often – time is of the essence and finding the best facility with an opening is a challenge. There are community services, assisted living and home care options that you and your family may want to explore with a variety of costs. In many cases, it is necessary to find a nursing home facility.
If you have Medicaid:
You could be eligible for a variety of services under Medicaid but not all nursing homes are certified to participate in the joint federal and state program.
If you have Medicare:
Medicare usually does not cover long-term care in a nursing home.
For more information on ways to pay for a nursing home stay, visit our section on How To Pay For a Nursing Home Stay.
Find Homes in Your Area
There can be a number of nursing home options near you and each one is unique. Although some nursing homes may be managed by the same company, each location has a different staff, a different location, and unique amenities that can influence your decision.
- Ask your doctor if he or she would recommend a nursing home or other long-term care options. Many doctors provide services at local nursing homes and you may be able to continue treatments and care with a physician you trust.
- If you are in a hospital, speak to the hospital’s staff about your future nursing home options and long-term care. Nurses, doctors and social workers often know which options are highly rated and cost efficient for your situation.
You should also visit the Cellino & Barnes Nursing Home Map to find and compare nursing homes near you.
Not all nursing homes are the same. It is important to compare the quality of service you’ll get between long-term care options. You should visit the Cellino & Barnes Nursing Home Map to discover which nursing homes near you have top reviews and the fewest complaints or violations. The personal injury attorneys at Cellino & Barnes have assembled government information on each nursing home in your area to help you choose an establishment that is right for you.
Consider each piece of information carefully and allow these tools to help you make the best decision for you and your family.
Other options you may use to discover the quality of service at a particular nursing home can include the following:
- Call your state health department and ask if there is any information available on the nursing homes in your area. The personal injury lawyers at Cellino & Barnes have gathered some of that information from your state health department and we’ve conveniently placed it on our Cellino & Barnes Nursing Home Map.
- Look at survey findings for the facilities near you. These can be found online and should be publicly available at each nursing home, usually in the lobby.
Take a Visit
Once you’ve narrowed down your nursing home options to a handful in your area, Cellino & Barnes highly recommends visiting a nursing home in person. If you are unable to go there yourself, have a family member or friend visit a facility for you.
Under state and federal laws, each nursing home must guarantee certain rights and protections. However, each facility has a unique culture and interactions between staff and residents can vary greatly. For example, some nursing homes may allow visits from pets and family members while others can restrict visiting hours and they may not allow pets at all.
Think about what is important to you and your family and ask questions before choosing a long-term care provider:
Food and Dining
- Does the nursing home have an enjoyable dining experience?
- Does the staff help residents eat and drink if help is needed?
- Can I get the food I like to eat?
- Are dining hours restricted to a specific time?
- Can the nursing home meet my dietary needs?
- What if I don’t like the choice of food at every meal?
Dining experience is often important to you and your family. Ask questions. Most places can show you a menu during your visit.
- Does the facility have appropriate staff to be able to care for its residents?
- Will I see the same staff members every day?
- What type of therapy is available?
- How many residents is a CNA responsible for?
Staffing can be a difference-maker in your decision. Many times, serious accidents can be attributed to an under-staffing of nursing homes and you should be confident a facility can care for all of its residents. Also, ask if there’s a social worker available. Most nursing homes are required to provide social services to their residents upon request.
Quality of Life
- Will I be treated with respect?
- Will I be happy with the recreational and social activities?
- Do I get to choose what times to get up, go to sleep, eat, or bathe?
- Is transportation available?
- Can I decorate my living space?
- What are the rules and procedures if I want to leave the nursing home for a few hours or a few days?
Most people who are searching for nursing homes are worried they’re not going to live the same quality of life. Choosing a long-term care facility is a big decision and many nursing homes will attempt to cater to its residents and make sure your quality of life is as good, if not better than it was before. However, these questions may help you decide which facility offers the best quality of life for you.
Quality of Care
- What’s a plan of care?
- How does this nursing home know what I want and need?
- Who will be responsible for my care?
- How does the staff react to a problem?
- Does the nursing home’s inspection report show any quality of care problems?
- If I have any problems with my quality of care, who do I speak to?
Quality of care can be the number one reason people choose a nursing home. Although some nursing homes have a squeaky-clean record of caring for its residents, others have had complaints, citations and some may have been forced to pay fines due to bad quality of care. A nursing home with a blemished record does not necessarily mean it is the wrong home for you; a troubled employee who was once working there may be solely responsible for a particular problem. If a nursing home does have any quality of care issues, it’s important to ask about these incidents and find out how the facility corrected them.
- Is there a bed or room available now? If not, how long is the wait?
Not all nursing homes have vacancy. You may be required to be placed on a waiting list and file an application. Although some places may not accept your application, they are required to comply with state and federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination.
Each person is unique and you may value the quality of care and lifestyle at a particular nursing home. It is important to evaluate how comfortable you and your family will be after choosing a long-term care facility.