How to Choose a Nursing Home

HomeArticlesHow to Choose a Nursing Home

Many elderly individuals desire to age in the comfort of their own or family homes, but this isn’t always practical. For those needing ongoing support due to chronic conditions like dementia, long-term care in a nursing home might be the most appropriate solution.

Nursing homes differ greatly in quality and services, so finding one best suited to your specific circumstances is essential. It might necessitate conducting extensive research and visiting several facilities to find the one that perfectly caters to your needs.

Personal Visits

The significance of personally visiting a nursing home cannot be overstated. It has traditionally been considered the most effective method to evaluate the standard of a nursing home. However, some facilities have restricted onsite visits due to recent global health concerns.

When all other factors are similar, opting for a nursing home that has permitted you to witness its care and services firsthand is recommended. Be cautious about choosing a nursing home that requires commitment without allowing you to experience their environment in person.

During your visit to potential nursing homes, insist on touring the entire facility rather than just the aesthetically pleasing lobby or a specific unit. Attempt to grasp the level of care provided and how the staff treats the residents. Important indicators to consider include the residents’ physical appearance, the use of restraints, the condition of residents’ rooms, the quality of food, and the range of activities offered.

Cost Information  

Most nursing homes are part of the Medicare and/or Medicaid programs, which offer financial compensation for some or all of the care provided to certain residents. Medicare generally covers post-hospital rehabilitation and hospice care services over shorter durations. On the other hand, Medicaid helps cover long-term nursing home care costs for individuals who meet specific financial criteria.

Some residents who pay out-of-pocket for nursing home care deplete their resources due to the substantial expenses. Consequently, many apply for Medicaid to cover their ongoing care costs. Unless there’s assurance that a resident can indefinitely afford private funding, it’s advisable to opt for a facility that accepts Medicaid payments.

Understanding your state’s Medicaid eligibility requirements is also crucial. It’s worth noting that even if one partner qualifies for Medicaid, the other spouse may retain some assets and continue receiving regular income.

Websites for Nursing Home Ratings and Comparison

One of the most frequented rating websites is Care Compare, managed by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). While this site can serve as a useful guide in eliminating lower-rated nursing homes from your options, its ratings might not be entirely dependable due to certain shortcomings.

A significant issue with this system is the practice of allowing nursing homes to self-report quality and staffing data. This lack of third-party auditing allows room for manipulation, potentially skewing the ratings in favor of the institutions.

Another limitation of Care Compare is its failure to consider any non-compliance with Indianapolis nursing home standards or any penalties the state imposes on nursing homes. This could lead to a misleading portrayal of the nursing home’s quality, especially for individuals pursuing an online AGNP programs who might have specific standards in mind.

The quality of Indianapolis nursing home inspection system also leaves much to be desired. With inspections often missing or downplaying serious issues, the resulting ratings can be inflated, offering a rosier picture than what might be the reality.

Feel Free to Ask Questions

When selecting a nursing home, never hold back from asking questions. For instance, if you detect any potent smells, have the staff explain their source. Unpleasant odors could point towards an issue; conversely, attractive ones might conceal a problem. It’s also worthwhile to inquire about the duration of service of the director and leaders of the nursing, food, and social services departments. A high turnover in these crucial positions might hint at underlying problems.

What Kinds of Services Are Available?

Certain nursing homes cater specifically to residents with memory-related conditions. Typically, these facilities provide various activities and amenities for their residents. These can include recreational outings, a common room for relaxation and socializing, a gym for physical exercise, and a television for entertainment. It’s important to verify if the facility also offers transportation for medical appointments and assess the quality of the food provided.

Instead of focusing solely on the wide array of services offered, it’s crucial to determine whether the services align with your individual needs. You may want to check if the facility allows pet visits if you have a cherished pet. If you’re a spiritual person, confirm whether they provide access to religious services. For those with dementia, ensure the facility has dedicated memory care units.

Assess Staff Members

Nursing homes deliver an elevated standard of care on the premises, with staff monitoring around the clock. The caregiving team encompasses doctors, nurses, therapists, dietitians, and certified nursing assistants. Given their constant presence or proximity to the residents, inquire about their professional background, problem-solving ability, training, and interaction with the residents.

Locating staff members willing to go beyond their duties to familiarize themselves with your loved one can significantly improve their life experience in a nursing home. As you tour the facility and pass the rooms, ask the staff if they can share amusing or interesting information about the residents.


Choosing a nursing home for your loved one can be a difficult task. Nobody wants to think about sending their family members into such an unfamiliar place. However, with the right research and preparation it can be an invaluable decision for everyone involved. 

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Articles

Popular Posts