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What to Consider Before Choosing a Nursing Home

  • August 7, 2019
  • KBA Attorneys
  • No Comments

It isn’t easy trusting strangers with the care of your loved one, however, some families are unable to offer full-time in-home care. A nursing home will sometimes be the best option for someone who requires daily, high-quality care. While making the initial decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is difficult, finding a suitable care facility can be just as worrisome.

Choosing a nursing home for your loved one will be easier if you allow yourself time to research potential facilities. You will want to search for nursing homes that will provide the best care for the individual’s specific needs. Finding out more information about the available nursing homes in your area will also help your family feel better about the transition. Unfortunately, some families may be in situations where there is no time to conduct research and individuals require immediate placement due to sudden changes in their physical or mental health. If this occurs, it is crucial for families to regularly monitor their loved ones to ensure that they are being treated properly and that no nursing home abuse is happening.

Speak with Your Loved One

The opinion of your loved one is very important in this situation and families must acknowledge their say and act accordingly. However, if the individual suffers from an impairment that makes this level of communication difficult, families will need to be ready to make the final decisions on their behalf. This decision on nursing home care will bring about many challenges and every family will have different circumstances. Families can also find help by speaking with a social worker or doctor who is familiar with nursing home placement. 

It is important to make sure you choose a nursing home facility that will offer the best possible care for your loved one. Check out nursing homes that will match the needs of your loved one and tour as many as you can to make your final choice. In doing so, you will be confident that your loved one will be safe and comfortable knowing they are being provided the highest quality care. 

6 Key Points To Help Your Decision:

1. Location

Location plays an important factor when you are considering a nursing home for your loved one.   Nursing home residents will want their families to be close and to visit often. Choosing a nursing home close by will help make visits convenient and if an emergency occurs you will be able to arrive at the facility quickly. 

Families are also advised to consider the surrounding area of the nursing home. Is the facility in a safe area of town or is it near a bad neighborhood with high crime rates? Also, be mindful of the actual nursing home facility itself: the cleanliness, the smell, and the overall condition of the building.

2. Services

Families should make sure that the nursing home they choose has all the services their loved one needs for their health while also being a comfortable place to live. Generally, all nursing homes offer long-term care. Families should know that different nursing homes offer different services and there are facilities that specialize in specific types of care. For example, if your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, you should place him/her in a nursing home with a specialized unit that cares for Alzheimer’s disease residents. 

Essential services such as the meal and dining experience also make a major difference in the overall comfort and happiness of a resident. When visiting nursing homes, try to go during mealtimes so you can observe how the facility operates when residents are given meals. 

3. Staff

The nursing home staff are going to be the ones responsible for the safety and happiness of residents. The overall friendliness and professionalism of the staff is an extremely important factor that must be looked at before choosing a nursing home. When visiting a nursing home, families should speak with as many staff members as possible, ask them questions, and observe how they act around their current residents. 

You want nursing home staff that display both professional nursing care and personal care. During your nursing home tours look for signs of nursing home negligence. Look to see if staff members seem to enjoy their work or if they seem careless. You may also want to see if staff knock on doors before entering and if they call residents by their name. 

Consider the following about nursing home staff:

  • Do the staff have access to education and training programs?
  • What are the employment requirements?
  • Does the nursing home have any records of employees mistreating or abusing residents?
  • Will there be a licensed nurse at the facility all day?
  • Will there be a registered nurse at the facility at least 8 hours a day?
  • Are staff members willing to make specific accommodations for residents?
  • Is the nursing home properly staffed or understaffed?
  • Is the staff overworked?

4. Certification

Medicare plays a major role in providing health and financial security to 60 million elderly people and younger people with disabilities. It is important for these beneficiaries to find a nursing home that is Medicare and Medicaid certified for them to be able to receive the care they need without worrying about the health care costs as it can be very expensive to afford a nursing home. 

5. Activities

Aside from the care that residents need, it is also important for nursing homes to offer activities. These activities will keep residents entertained and physically active during their stay. Regular activities will not only keep them entertained, but it will make them feel as if they are still part of a community and are living full lives. 

6. History

A look at a nursing home’s performance over the past few years will show what regulations have been violated and what citations the facility has received. State and federal agencies have placed strict regulations on nursing homes, but these care facilities are known to violate these laws. Nursing home abuse has become rampant in the United States, with staff members neglecting, sexually abusing, and physically hurting residents.

Online databases such as Medicare.gov offer useful information that provides reports on different nursing homes based on specific locations. Families can find reports on staffing violations and health inspections. The website also has a Nursing Home Compare feature that families can use to look at the quality of care nursing homes provide.

Avoiding Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing homes are responsible for the lives of many elderly residents who require daily care. Sadly, there have been thousands of cases involving negligent nursing homes and abused residents. In order to prevent your loved one from becoming a victim of elder abuse, you should follow these tips and perform as much research as you can. 

If your loved one becomes a victim of nursing home abuse, contact KBA Attorneys to learn how you can win compensation and hold the responsible parties accountable. Our nursing home abuse lawyers have years of combined experience in handling these types of cases.


Cynthia Ramnarace. “Choosing the Right Nursing Home”, AARP Bulletin, https://www.aarp.org/home-garden/housing/info-03-2012/safe-nursing-home-questions-to-ask.html. Accessed July 29, 2019.

NIH. “Choosing a Nursing Home”, National Institute on Aging, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/choosing-nursing-home. Accessed July 29, 2019.