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
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
- Ask what makes this nursing home different from others.
- Does the facility include family members in resident care
- 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
- 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
- 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.