How do I pick the Right Nursing Home?

checklist of picking the right nursing home


Choosing the right nursing home is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration and thorough research. Families and individuals seeking long-term care options must assess specific needs and preferences to make sure the chosen facility can provide the necessary level of care. This guide aims to provide a detailed overview of the steps involved in selecting a nursing home, offering valuable insights and recommendations to help families make informed decisions that best suit their loved ones’ needs.

As the population continues to age, the demand for nursing home care has increased significantly. With numerous options available, selecting the right nursing home can be overwhelming for families. However, by following a systematic approach and considering various factors, families can navigate this process with confidence and ensure their loved ones receive the highest quality of care.

The decision to move a loved one into a nursing home often comes with mixed emotions. While families want to ensure their loved ones receive the best possible care, they may also feel guilty about not being able to provide care themselves. Additionally, concerns about the quality of care and the overall well-being of their loved ones can weigh heavily on families’ minds.

Despite these challenges, selecting the right nursing home is a crucial step in ensuring the safety, comfort, and quality of life of elderly individuals who require long-term care. By taking the time to assess care needs, research facilities, visit potential homes, ask pertinent questions, review contracts, seek feedback, and trust instincts, families can make informed decisions that prioritize their loved ones’ well-being.

This guide will provide detailed information and helpful tips to help families go through the process of choosing the right nursing home. By empowering families with the knowledge and resources they need, this guide aims to reduce some of the stress and uncertainty with this decision and ensure that elderly individuals receive the care and support they deserve in their later years.

As families begin this journey, it’s important to approach the decision-making process with empathy, compassion, and a commitment to prioritizing the needs and preferences of their loved ones. While the process may be challenging at times, the ultimate goal is to find a nursing home that feels like home and provides the highest quality of care for elderly individuals in need of long-term support.

Assessing Care Needs and Preferences

​​Choosing the right nursing home starts with understanding what the person who will live there needs and likes. This means looking at things like their health issues, how well they can move around, what they can eat, and what kind of social activities they enjoy. By figuring out these things at the beginning, families can make their search for a nursing home easier. They can focus on places that are good at taking care of the specific needs of the person and making them feel comfortable.

Medical conditions, like long-term illnesses or recent injuries, are important to consider. So are mobility limitations, like needing help walking or using a wheelchair. It’s also essential to think about what the person can eat, especially if they have allergies or health conditions that affect their diet. And don’t forget about social preferences – some people like being around others a lot, while others prefer quieter settings. Understanding all of these things helps families find a nursing home that’s just right for their loved one, where they’ll get the care and support they need in a place that feels like home.

Do Your Research

After figuring out what care someone needs, the next step is to check out nursing homes nearby. You can use websites like Nursing Home Compare from Medicare or your state’s health department site. These websites give you a lot of information about nursing homes in your area.

When you’re looking at nursing homes online, it’s crucial to pay attention to a few things. First, check the quality ratings – these show how well the nursing home is doing in different areas. Then, look at the safety records and inspection reviews to see if there have been any problems in the past. It’s also essential to check the staffing levels – you want to make sure there are enough people working to take care of everyone. Lastly, see what kinds of services each nursing home offers. Some might have more options for therapy or activities than others.

Doing this research helps families make a list of nursing homes that could be a good fit. By looking at these details, families can narrow down their options and find nursing homes that meet their needs and preferences.

Visiting Potential Facilities

Going to visit nursing homes in person is really important because you get to see what they’re like up close. Long-term care facilities spend a lot of money on marketing campaigns. The professionally enhanced photographs you see online may not match the reality of what you see at the nursing home. 

When you’re there, make sure to look around and see if the place looks clean and safe. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to the overall feeling of the place – is it welcoming and comfortable?

Sometimes, nursing homes might look really fancy and cost a lot of money, but that doesn’t always mean they’ll give good care. What matters more is how the staff treats the residents and what kinds of activities they offer. When you’re visiting, take notice of how the staff interacts with the people who live there. Do they seem friendly and caring? It’s also important to ask about things like activities and amenities – what kinds of things do they do to keep residents engaged and happy?

These visits are a chance to see how things work at the nursing home on a regular basis. You can get a feel for what daily life is like there and whether it’s a good fit for your loved one. By taking the time to visit in person and see things for yourself, you’ll be better able to make a decision about which nursing home is the right choice.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Asking questions during visits to nursing homes is extremely important because it helps you understand how things work and if the place is right for your loved one. Before you go, it’s a good idea to make a list of questions to ask. Asking questions will allow you to gauge how knowledgeable and forthright staff are in their communications. Good communication is necessary for good care. If you can’t get clear, straightforward answers to basic questions, that is a bad sign. These questions should cover different topics to make sure you get all the information you need.

One thing to ask about is the staff – how many people work there compared to how many residents live there? This helps you know if there are enough staff members to take care of everyone. You can also ask about the qualifications of the staff – do they have special training or certifications? For example, if your loved one has dementia, a spinal cord injury, diabetes, or a tracheostomy, you may want to inquire about whether the staff have advanced training or certifications in dementia, spinal cord, diabetes, or tracheostomy care. If not, this nursing home may not be the right fit for you. 

Another important thing to ask about is medical care – how do they handle things like giving medicines or helping with treatments? It’s also a good idea to ask about meal options – what kinds of food do they offer, and can they accommodate special dietary needs?

Safety is another big concern, so be sure to ask about safety protocols – what do they do to make sure everyone stays safe? You can also ask about policies regarding resident autonomy and decision-making – how much say do residents have in their own care and daily activities?

By asking these questions, you can get specific information about each nursing home and compare what they offer. This helps you make an informed decision about which place is the best fit for your loved one’s needs and preferences.

Review, Review, and Review

Reviewing the contracts and fee structures of nursing homes is a crucial step in the decision-making process. Families must carefully examine the admission agreements to understand all terms and conditions fully. This includes payment options, policies regarding additional services, and any associated fees. It’s essential to read through the contracts thoroughly and ensure clarity on all aspects before making a decision.

Understanding the payment options is particularly important. Families need to know how much they will be required to pay and how often. Some nursing homes may offer different payment plans or accept different forms of payment, so it’s essential to clarify these details upfront. Additionally, families should inquire about any potential additional fees for services not included in the basic fee structure. This could include charges for specialized medical care, therapy services, recreational activities, or transportation services.

Policies regarding additional services and fees should be carefully reviewed. Families need to understand under what circumstances additional services may be required and how these services will be billed. It’s essential to clarify any questions or concerns regarding these policies to avoid misunderstandings later on.

In addition to payment-related matters, families should also pay attention to other terms and conditions outlined in the admission agreements. This may include policies regarding visitation hours, resident rights, discharge procedures, and grievance mechanisms. Understanding these terms ensures that families are fully informed about what to expect during their loved one’s stay at the nursing home.

These nursing home admission agreements often include arbitration clauses. These are sometimes buried in a long list of paperwork. Arbitration agreements are designed to benefit the nursing home by having residents sign away their right to a jury trial in favor of a person called an arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators deciding any dispute. These arbitrators are often people who are friendly to the nursing home industry and not residents. In addition to forcing you to give up your right to a jury trial, these arbitration agreements often limit what you can recover from the nursing home–including eliminating the ability to recover punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. 

Overall, reviewing the contracts and fee structures of nursing homes is essential to make an informed decision. Families should take the time to read through all documents carefully, ask questions to clarify any uncertainties, and ensure that they understand all terms and conditions before making a commitment. This proactive approach helps avoid misunderstandings and ensures a smooth transition for the resident into their new living arrangement.

Ask for Feedback

Seeking feedback from current residents and their families is an important step in the decision-making process when choosing a nursing home. By talking to residents and their families, families can gain valuable insights into the day-to-day experiences of living in the facility. They can learn about the quality of care provided, how responsive the staff is to residents’ needs, and how well they communicate with families. Hearing firsthand accounts allows families to assess the overall satisfaction levels of current residents and their families with the facility. This feedback is invaluable as it provides real-life perspectives on what it’s like to live in the nursing home, helping families make more informed decisions about which facility best meets their needs and preferences.

Online reviews can often provide a good source of information about a nursing home. Look at sites like Facebook, Google, Indeed, and Glassdoor. You can often find the honest statements of former residents or employees. When you consider online reviews, consider the source. If the person writing the review was a current employee at the time, they may have been told to write a good review for the company. Also, check to see if the reviews on Google and Facebook match the reviews on the company’s webpage. It is possible that a nursing home could have glowing reviews on their website and poor reviews on Facebook, Google, and Glassdoor because they are selectively choosing which reviews to put on their webpage. 

Trust Your Gut

Selecting the appropriate nursing home is a deeply personal choice that must prioritize the unique needs and desires of the individual who will be living there. It’s important to rely on your instincts and opt for a nursing home that displays a sense of safety and comfort. Once a decision is made, it’s good to remain actively involved in the resident’s care journey. This means maintaining regular communication with the nursing home staff, participating in care planning meetings to discuss and assess the care plan, and consistently monitoring the resident’s overall well-being. By following these steps and dedicating time to thoroughly research and visit nursing homes, families can make the most informed decision regarding their loved one’s long-term care. This ensures that the chosen nursing home not only meets the resident’s needs effectively but also provides a nurturing and supportive environment conducive to their overall health and happiness.


Choosing a nursing home can be a life-altering decision that involves considering specific needs and preferences to ensure the well-being of elderly individuals who need long-term care. By following a systematic approach, conducting thorough research, visiting potential facilities, asking questions, reviewing contracts, seeking feedback, reading reviews, and trusting instincts, families can make informed decisions. Through empathy, compassion, and commitment, families can find a nursing home that provides the highest quality of care.

Disclaimer: This information is provided for informational purposes only. Nothing in this article should be construed as providing legal advice or the creation of an attorney client relationship. Laws are updated frequently and change from state to state. If you desire legal advice, you can contact Michael Hill Trial Law at, send an email to info@protectseniorscom, call (800) 659-2712 to begin an investigation or contact another attorney.