Making the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility can be difficult. Choosing to do so can mean your loved one is provided with around the clock health care and a variety of personal care services, as well as social activities, meal services, and companionship. 

Placing your loved one in a nursing home can also run the risk of potentially dangerous situations should the nursing home not provide an adequate standard of care. As an advocate for your loved one, it is crucial to conduct adequate research prior to placing your loved one in a home. Below you’ll find 7 tips to help pick the best nursing home for your loved one:

Consider What is Important

Would a small or larger nursing home be best for your loved one? What type of care do they require? Do you want a location close to relatives and loved ones so they may visit? Does the potential home have various activities for residents? 

Determine the most important elements of your unique situation to ensure your loved one’s needs are being met.

Ask Around

Asking around your community of trusted friends, peers, medical professionals, and loved ones can provide personal insight into experiences with certain nursing homes. It can also give you things to keep in mind when doing research. Creating a dialogue with others about their experiences with nursing homes can provide valuable information to help inform your choice. 

Call Each Home

Call each home prior to visiting to learn more about their facility. Ask if they are in your budget, what costs looks like, if they accept Medicare, and if there is a waiting list. Doing this prior to your visit will help save you and your loved one time and effort to ensure you are only visiting quality homes within your means.

Schedule a Visit

After narrowing down your list, schedule a visit to the home and plan to meet with the director and/or nursing director. The National Institute on Aging recommends looking for Medicare and Medicaid certifications, handicap access, residents who look well cared for, and warm interactions between all staff personnel and residents when visiting a nursing home.

Also, pay attention to your senses. What do you hear? What do you smell? Does the food look appetizing? Do residents have bruising on their bodies or look unkempt? Is the staff kind and helpful? Relying on your senses can help identify potential hazards. 

Prepare and Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Joel R. Bryant, a California nursing home abuse lawyer, notes “poorly trained and unqualified staff, inadequate numbers of staff, and reluctance of residents to report abuse out of embarrassment or fear” are reasons why neglect and abuse happens in most nursing homes. Ask staff if they work a lot of overtime or if they work double shifts; this may be a sign of short staffing. Inquire how long staff members and management-level workers have worked at the establishment. A high turnover rate of higher level administrators can be a negative sign.

Consider asking how the staff handles unfortunate accidents, such as slip and falls. Ensuring follow up care is administered is important.

Visit Again, Without Notice

Consider visiting potential nursing homes again, this time, without notice, ideally during mealtime. Without knowing of your arrival, is the nursing home still providing adequate care? Are they practicing what they promised?

Comprehend the Contract

Once you’ve decided on the best nursing home for your situation, you will most likely need to sign a contract. Prior to signing, ensure you understand everything fully. Ask a friend of family for help or consider meeting with a legal professional to review the contract; some offer free consultations. 

After a loved one is no longer able to safely live on his or her own, it can be hard to trust the transition into assisted living in a nursing home. By conducting your own thorough research using these 7 tips, you can help you find the perfect home for your loved one. Feeling secure in your decision can put both you and your loved one at ease.