How To Choose the Right Nursing Home for Your Loved One

nursing home

Nursing homes can be a great option for a loved one who can no longer care for themselves. Nursing homes typically provide 24/7 care and access to medical and assistive resources. But not all nursing homes are the same. It’s important to choose not only a nursing home where your loved one will feel comfortable and at home but one that also cares for and protects them as you would. This guide covers a few tips to help you choose the right nursing home for your loved one.

Make a List of Needs

Before reviewing the nursing homes in your area, make a list of your and your loved one’s needs. Organize your list based on must-haves, nice-to-haves, and not-important amenities. Determining the most important features can help you narrow down your options. A few things to consider include a single room, extra-curricular activities, on-site medical care, 24/7 security, outdoor space, on-site chef, or private entertainment rooms.

Ask for Referrals

Reach out to your network for referrals. Ask your family and friends if they have any nursing homes that they love. Talk with your loved one’s medical care team, including their primary physician or health care aides. In addition to asking for referrals, find out if there are any nursing homes they think might be best to avoid.

Visit a Few Options

Once you have a short list of available nursing homes in your area, schedule a few in-person visits. Try to visit when the residents are most active to get an idea of the home’s environment and activity options. If possible, schedule a few in-person visits so you can witness how they do things at different times of the day.

Involve Your Loved One in the Decision

Involving your loved one in the decision can help them feel more comfortable about moving to a nursing home. Ask them what’s most important to them. Bring them along with you on nursing home visits, so they can get an idea of what could potentially become their new home. This also allows them to chat with other residents and staff to decide if it makes them feel at home.

Evaluate Safety and Security

Evaluating any potential nursing home safety and security concerns is crucial. Ask specific questions as to how the nursing home staff keeps its residents safe. Inquire how they handle emergencies and how often residents meet with medical care team members. Pay attention to handicap access if your loved one uses a mobility device to get around.


Reviewing the proper steps for filing a complaint can also be helpful. While you never plan for your loved one to be the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, learning to recognize the signs and how to report it can help protect them. Always report any suspicions of nursing home abuse immediately to the state. You can also turn to an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer to help you with the process.

Check Reviews and Licensing

Gather even more information on the nursing home by checking reviews and licensing. You can also check nursing home inspection reports for your state. If you live in Illinois, you can find this information by visiting the Illinois Department of Aging website. This lets you review if the nursing home has had any recent complaints. You can also request a copy of the nursing home’s inspection report or certification.

Finding reviews for potential nursing homes is also easier than ever today. Completing a quick internet search will provide you with reviews of a specific home. You can search through these reviews to find out what residents like and dislike about each of your options. Don’t forget to leave your own reviews, helping others make their decision too.

Review the Paperwork

Once you decide on a nursing home that you feel comfortable with, you’ll want to carefully review the paperwork before signing. Ask about anything in the contract that you don’t understand. Make sure you understand funding and how much, if any, you’ll owe each month for your loved one to live there. If you rely on Medicare or Medicaid to cover the nursing home expenses, ensure your chosen facility has a current certification.

Choosing a nursing home for a loved one is a big decision. Involving them in the decision can make them feel more comfortable once they move in. Reviewing the most common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect can also help you keep your loved one safe. While preventing all cases of nursing home abuse may not be possible, the faster you report it, the fewer residents who are affected.

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