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How to Find a Good Nursing Home

Tips On Choosing the Right Nursing Home for Your Loved One

happy elderly man talking to nurse in nursing home

When you choose the nursing home that you plan to put your loved on in, only the best will do. It only makes sense that you would want to make sure they will be well cared for, treated kindly, and given as much time and attention as they need. But how exactly do you go about finding the right nursing home?

How Do You Evaluate a Nursing Home?

Here are a few key things you should keep in mind when choosing your nursing home:

  • Is it close to where you and the rest of the family live? – It’s important that you and the rest of the family should be able to check in on your loved one whenever you choose. By selecting a nursing home that is close to where you live you also decrease the likelihood of nursing staff or the facility taking advantage of your absences.
  • Does it have good references? – Be sure to ask other residents and their family members how they like the facility and whether or not they would recommend it to someone.
  • Does it have positive or negative reports? – Do your research to find out whether or not the facility has passed various governmental inspections and whether or not there were any concerns. Have these concerns been resolved?
  • Have you taken a personal tour of the nursing home? – If you’re going to have your loved one living in this facility, it’s important that you get a first-hand look at how things are run and where your loved one will be living.
  • Have you spoken to the administrators and staff? – While nursing home administrators and staff will most likely put their best foot forward for any visitors, sometimes you may be able to pick up on any issues by speaking directly with the staff and administrators, especially if you speak to them regularly on your visits.

Resources for Evaluating a Nursing Home

These resources may prove helpful in your search for a good nursing home:

  1. Medicare appeal – Under Medicare, you have the right to appeal a loved one’s discharge from a hospital. This extends the hospital stay for two additional days, and you can use that time to research nursing homes.
  2. Eldercare Locator – The names and locations of nursing homes in your area
  3. Form 2567 – The results of unannounced state nursing home inspections are compiled on a Form 2657 report.
  4. Indiana Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program – State and local nursing homes are monitored by the ombudsman
  5. Nursing Home Compare – The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services website has completed surveys for nursing homes throughout the nation. Your local health department is also a good source for this information.
  6. Unannounced visits –Visiting the nursing homes at different times of day gives you a much better picture of daily activities and whether the facility is fully staffed. Indiana provides statewide nursing home report cards to help you narrow your search
  7. Nursing home administrator – Medicare provides a nursing home checklist, and speaking with the administrator can give you a better feel for the prevailing attitude.
  8. Medicaid – Ask for a copy of the nursing home’s payment policy (in writing) specific to the eventual running-out of Medicare reimbursements or private funds, and whether Medicaid payments are accepted.
  9. Pay attention to details – When visiting your loved one in a nursing home, take time to taste the food and assess the staff and activities – especially making sure patient bathroom needs are being met. Report any concerns to the Indiana Attorney General’s Patient Abuse and Neglect program.

Please contact a licensed attorney if you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home.