What to look for in a Nursing Home

Nursing homes are a fact of life for many elderly residents whose health requires round-the-clock skilled nursing care. But how do you know that a particular nursing home will care for your loved ones the way you want them to be treated? Will your parents be happy in a nursing home? What programs exist that go beyond physical care? We provide this guide for assessing nursing homes to ensure that your loved one gets the best care possible.

Accreditation and Ratings

Nursing homes have the option to apply for accreditation. For example, CARF provides standards for nursing homes and carries out audits on these facilities. A CARF accreditation must be renewed annually.

Skilled nursing communities must meet strict criteria and are subject to periodic inspections to ensure quality standards are being met before they are certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

If a nursing home does not have these qualifications, you should ask them how they are regulated.

You can also compare nursing homes in your area with this tool. It rates all nursing homes out of five (much below average, below average, average, above average, and much above average). The tool also indicates nursing homes where abuse of residents has been suspected. Nursing homes such as are rated on staffing levels, health inspections, and quality measures.

Paying a Visit

Ask if the facility is staffed to sufficient levels to attend fully to all patients. Visit the home on more than one occasion at different times of the day. Determine how often diapers are changed and residents are bathed or receive a bed bath. What activities are provided for the elderly or are they left to sit or lie down most of the time? Be present at mealtimes to see the quality and quantity of food provided and whether residents are treated with dignity. Check if food is fresh and prepared just before being fed to residents or if it is made early in the day and left to stand.

Type of Staffing

Find out what types of services are provided. A nursing home should have the following nursing staff members available: registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses, and licensed vocational nurses. As nursing homes deal with patients who have had strokes, they need to have speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists that provide daily rehabilitation. Finally, a nursing home must have a medical director.

Questions to Ask

Does the nursing home have an agreed arrangement with a local hospital to transfer a patient in need of emergency care? Is family input into care welcomed? What does the daily schedule consist of? Are there set times when the family cannot visit a loved one? Is an entrance fee payable? What are the monthly charges? What does this cover? Will your loved one have a private room and bathroom? What safety features are in place (e.g. handrails)? What security is provided onsite?

Finding the right nursing home takes time. But this is well-spent to ensure the well-being and safety of your loved one.


Navigating the intricate maze of news with precision, Jason strikes with clarity and depth. On, he distills the essence of current events, offering readers a sleek, informed perspective.

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