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Tips for Choosing the Right Nursing Center

Kindred Healthcare
By Kindred HealthcareJanuary 21, 2016

Choosing a nursing or rehabilitation center for a loved one can be an emotional and overwhelming decision. But, there are many resources that can help you prepare. Learn more from these tips for choosing the right nursing center.

Choosing the Right Nursing Center

U.S. News & World Report outlines four important factors to consider in choosing a nursing center:


  • Location: Is the center close enough to family members to ensure the patient will have frequent visitors?
  • Capabilities: Is the center able to handle your loved one’s specific medical condition(s)?
  • Atmosphere: Does it provide a warm and supportive environment?
  • Cost: Do insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, savings or other sources of income cover the cost of care at the facility?

Preparing to Tour Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers

The best way to determine if a center is the right fit for your family is to take a tour.

U.S. News provides a checklist of questions to ask, and recommends taking it with you on the site tour so you can ask follow-up questions if you are not satisfied with the answers you get.

The checklist includes detailed questions in different areas, including:

  • Specific medical condition(s) and how the center can address those
  • Nutrition, including menu choices, flexibility, snacks, and how dietary restrictions are handled
  • Medical staff availability
  • How emergencies are handled and if there is transportation to and from doctor appointments
  • Safety regulations like fire and emergency evacuation
  • Quality of life and social engagement — do the residents get a chance to have fun?

Medicare also provides a checklist as part of its materials on choosing a nursing home. The Medicare web site provides information about Nursing Home Compare, which allows consumers to compare nursing centers in their area, including data on staffing, health inspections and quality ratings, and information on how the CMS Five Star Quality Rating System works.

Nancy Golobish, Admissions Director at Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation – Bridgewater in Carmel, Indiana, gives several tours a week to prospective residents and their families. She says she starts by building a rapport with the family to find out what their specific needs are, so she can address the facility’s capabilities in those areas. Other common questions relate to food and visits from family.

“One of the things they are most concerned about is how often they can visit their loved one, and I tell them they are welcome to visit anytime, and that we are a very family-oriented place,” Golobish said.

“I also get a lot of questions about the food,” she said. “I let them know we have a dietitian and a dietary manager who will make every effort to find out about their [loved one’s] food likes and dislikes. And, that we offer a menu with different choices each day.”

Golobish says a common concern is consistency in nursing and therapy staff.

“I reassure them that they will see the same therapists and nurses, who will get to know them and how they are progressing,” she said.

Though admissions directors like Golobish might anticipate some important questions before they are even asked, it is important to come prepared to the tour, using the resources included in this article. Doing your homework can make a big difference when choosing the right place for your loved one.

Visit nursinghomes.com for more information about navigating the maze of nursing homes and rehabilitation options.

Do you have other tips for choosing the right nursing center that we didn’t list above? Share them with us in the comments below.

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