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Tips for Choosing a Nursing Home

Nursing homes are different from other senior care facilities in that they offer quality medical care. Unlike other senior homes, nursing homes have certified physicians supervising every patient’s care and nurses or other medical practitioners almost all the time. Skilled nursing care services are offered around the clock, and other professionals, including physical and occupational therapists, are well taken care of to ensure you or your loved ones.

Regardless of whether it’s you or your loved one shifting to a nursing home, consider getting a formal medical examination to determine your needs and possible housing options. A medical assessment can also help you know whether your loved ones need permanent or temporary nursing home care. This article discusses the tips you can use to choose a nursing home.

1.    Staff

The patient-staff ratio is a core consideration when choosing a nursing home. If the ratio is too high, residents will most likely not receive proper care. However, if the ratio is low, it’s a sign your loved one will receive personalized care. Consider if the nursing home provides easy access to training programs and continuing education, including aged care courses. Ensure the nursing care providers are skilled with no neglect or mistreatment records.

If the staff turnover rates in a potential nursing home are high, it indicates that the staff aren’t happy. Unhappy staff members will less likely give proper care to the residents, compromising your loved one’s safety and overall health. Choose a home with a high employee retention rate to ensure your senior relative is well cared for.

2.    Look at the government inspection ratings

While you may get good nursing home recommendations from family and friends with loved ones enrolled, don’t decide based on that alone. Government inspection ratings are usually verified and trustworthy to help you make an informed nursing home choice. Visit the Medicare and Medicaid Services website to find any information and ratings regarding prospective nursing homes, including details of their previous health inspections. You can also find other inspection rating resources online then compare the ratings to pick the best-rated nursing home.

3.    Consider your loved one’s level of care

Long-term care institutions provide various care levels, including skilled nursing care and independent living. Nursing homes also provide intermediate nursing care and subacute nursing units to choose placement based on your senior’s health requirements. Beware of your loved one’s health needs to secure the right placement for them. Knowing their needs also helps the nursing home assign the right skilled nursing care and medical attention your loved one requires.

Additionally, assessing your loved one’s needs helps you determine if they need any special diet so you can make the necessary arrangements with the nursing home management. For instance, if your loved one has dementia, the nursing home you choose should offer specialized care for seniors with dementia.

4.    Consider the location

The location should be a key elimination factor when considering potential nursing home options. This is because you’ll want your loved ones close to your home or a relative to visit them often and offer support, so they don’t feel alone and abandoned. Admitting your relative to a nursing home facility close to home also gives them the comfort that they can visit you whenever possible.

When considering the size of the nursing home, consider the patient’s preferences and unique personality. If they’re social and outgoing, choose a large facility where they can interact and engage with others. If the nursing home is far, ensure there’s a relative nearby.

5.    Visit the facility

Visiting the nursing home allows you to enjoy the first-hand experience, look around the facility and interact with residents and staff. During your visit, you look at the area’s security to determine if the nursing home is secure for your loved one. Find out if they have security cameras installed and if they have visitation restrictions or guidelines.

See how visitors are handled at the gate and note any security measures to ensure your loved ones don’t leave the facility alone. Talk to the management about any concerns you may have. You can also talk to some residents to find out about their experiences. Make follow-up visits to ensure everything is okay, and you aren’t making a mistake.

6.    Ask the right questions

Picking the right nursing home can be challenging, especially when it involves long-term care. Find out how they protect residents against infectious diseases and how long nurses and other medical professionals spend with residents daily. Determine if the facility provides specialized care and check the home’s social and recreation services status. Find out if your loved one’s doctor serves the facility to ensure they’re healthy.

Ensure the nursing home is fully accredited, as this means they’ll take additional steps for compliance purposes. Look at the environment, starting from the hallways to the rooms, and ensure emergency call systems in each room.

7.     Ensure food preparation quality

Food quality and mealtime atmosphere greatly impact the happiness of nursing home residents. When looking for a nursing home facility, you can visit during one or several of their mealtimes to see how things happen. Find out how quality the food is and if residents have food options. Check if the facility can cater to special dietary requirements should your loved one need specialized care. You can also request to look at their weekly menu to see if it suits their health needs.

8.    Consider the services provided

While they provide nursing care, different nursing homes also offer various services. Some services are essential to meeting the resident’s specific needs. Other services are meant to make the seniors’ life much easier. Learn about all the extra services your nursing home provides and how they can benefit your loved one.

9.    Consider visiting time flexibility

While some nursing homes provide open visiting hours, others ensure tight visitations. Look at the in-person visit schedules and determine how often and under what conditions you can visit. Find other ways to communicate with your loved ones to ensure they don’t feel isolated, as this could negatively impact their health.


Taking your loved one to a nursing home can be emotionally challenging. However, ensuring they’re safe and comfortable when they are there gives you peace of mind. Use the above tips to choose a nursing home.