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Nursing Home Checklist

Last updated: April 4, 2013

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 nursing home.

  1. Physician's order for admission to a skilled nursing facility - 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.  
  2. Physician's order for medications and treatment - 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.  
  3. 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.  
  4. 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 ascertained.  
  5. Negative tuberculosis (TB) test or chest X-Ray, per policy -  TB is an airborne communicable disease. Nursing homes need to make sure their residents do not have or carry this disease.  
  6. Completed admissions paperwork at the time of admission to the community - 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 card. 
  7. Completed financial obligations to the community at the time of admission to the community - 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 supplemental insurance?

  • 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 holdings?

  • 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 payment?

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.


Source: Information in this nursing home checklist provided courtesy of Stephanie Blakeney at Golden Living Centers. 

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