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Questions to Ask When Touring a Nursing Home

tour-nursing-homes

Last Updated: March 28, 2013

Touring nursing home facilities in person is an essential part of finding the right facility for your loved one. Many people recommend making multiple visits during your decision making process. For your first visit, make an appointment with the admissions director to tour on a weekday. Late morning and midday hours are usually the best times to get a feeling for the day-to-day operations of a home.

Watch out for homes with bad smells, residents who are strapped into wheelchairs and staff who seem to ignore the residents. One of the most important things you can do is to talk to the residents and ask how they're doing. Above all, trust your instincts; first impressions matter.

What to Ask

As you visit the nursing home, be sure to ask the admissions director a lot of questions. Don't worry about taking up their time. Verify any information you were told over the phone.

  • Is the facility a non-profit or for-profit?
  • What types of care do they offer?
  • Is the facility certified by Medicaid and Medicare?
  • What is the average length of stay?
  • What are the qualifications of the staff in the therapy department?
  • Ask what makes this nursing home different from others.
  • Does the facility include family members in resident care plans?
  • Ask for recent state inspection survey results. The report should be dated within the last 9 - 15 months.
  • Compare the number of deficiencies cited to the state average.
  • If the facility has received a citation in a particular service area, be sure to ask questions about this area.
  • Beware of choosing a facility with a very high number of deficiencies compared to other facilities in the area and the state average.
  • Go to the Medicare Nursing Home Compare site to learn how it compares to the national average at www.medicare.gov/NHCompare/Home. This website gives detailed information about past performance of every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home in the country.

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