Last updated: May 6, 2015
A nursing home staff member will assist a family through the
admittance process, but it helps to be prepared. If your loved one
is currently in the hospital, the first five items on this nursing
home checklist will be taken care of by hospital staff. Otherwise,
make an appointment with the primary care physician to discuss the
following items to help prepare for the move to a convalescent home.
- Physician's Order for Admission to a Skilled Nursing
A doctor needs to confirm that a patient needs to enter a nursing
home for care. This order is similar to writing out a prescription.
- Physician's Order for Medications and
Your loved one will have a new physician and caregivers at the
nursing home. To care for him or her, they will need orders from a
primary care physician or hospital staff.
- Medical History and Physical
The nursing home's attending physician needs up-to-date information
on your loved one. The primary care physician should perform a
physical and write up a current medical history.
- State-required Form
Every state has a required form-which goes by different titles-that
certifies a patient meets state nursing home criteria. This means
his medical needs can be fulfilled at a skilled nursing facility.
Either the hospital or the primary care physician will fill out and
sign this form. It can be obtained at any nursing home in the state
where they will be receiving. (The hospital should also already
have the form.) Because financial assistance is only granted if the
patient meets state criteria for nursing home care, this form meets
the first requirement for funding, before monetary need is
- Negative Tuberculosis (TB) Test or Chest X-Ray
TB is an airborne communicable disease. Nursing homes
need to make sure their residents do not have or carry this
- Completed Admissions Paperwork
Usually, paperwork can be filled out prior to or on the day of
admission. Although nursing homes have different rules, most often
these forms are filled out at the facility with a staff member. The
patient (or agent) will sign her name several times after learning
pertinent information. Because nursing homes are regulated by state
and federal laws, the community needs written proof that the
patient learned this information. Part of the paperwork gives the
patient's consent to be treated. As part of the application process
your loved one may need to bring his or her social security
- Completed Financial Assessment
This step ensures that each patient has the means to pay for care.
The patient or her family needs to disclose financial information
(along with corroborating paperwork), including, but not limited
to, answers to the following questions:
Is the patient currently enrolled in Medicare
(Part A or B) or Medicaid or plan to apply? Does he have
Does the patient receive Veterans Benefits, Railroad Retirement,
SSI funds, or a private or government pension?
What are the patient's assets, including cash, checking and
savings accounts, stocks, bonds, CDs, trust funds, and real estate
Does the patient have any paid-up life insurance policies or
paid-up burial insurance or long-term care insurance?
Has the patient transferred assets in the last 3-5 years?
What is the patient's current living situation (rental housing,
own a home)? What is the amount of the monthly rental or mortgage
The nursing home has an obligation to determine if incoming
residents meet the criteria for any state or federal funding. This
process is similar in nature to a person divulging financial
information to get a mortgage; the nursing home is, in effect, the
patient's new home.