How to Find a Nursing Home for a Senior

How to Find a Nursing Home for a Senior

There are several simple strategies for finding the best nursing home for your loved one if you’re looking for one. Do your research first: decide on the appropriate location and cost of the nursing home while looking for the ones that come most highly recommended. It’s critical to visit any nursing homes you’re considering and ask lots of questions of the staff so you have a clear picture of how they care for their residents.

Method 1 Doing the Research

1. Determine the location of the nursing home. This immediately narrows your options. Consider whether the nursing home should be close to your loved one’s current residence, close to you or another caregiver, or in a completely new location. Once you’ve determined the general location, you’ll be able to use a map or conduct a search to determine which nursing homes are in the area.

For example, to find nursing homes in that area, type “nursing homes” followed by the desired zip code into an online search engine.

2. Narrow down the nursing homes based on your budget. Nursing homes can be expensive, so if you’re on a tight budget, it’s best to eliminate the ones that are simply out of your price range. It’s also a good idea to look into which nursing homes accept private medical insurance or government funding, such as Medicaid and Medicare.

Most nursing homes’ prices and payment options can be found on their website, but if you have any questions about the cost, call the nursing home to speak with an employee who can help answer your questions.

A typical nursing home costs around $8,000 per month.

3. Ask around for the best-reviewed nursing homes. For nursing home recommendations, ask friends, family members, coworkers, neighbours, or even a local hospital’s discharge planner. Make a list of any nursing homes that people tell you about and research them to learn more about them.

If someone recommends a particular nursing home, make sure to ask them why they like it and any other specific questions you may have.

4. Use comparison websites to compare nursing homes. Look for a nursing home compare tool online, which is a website that compares various nursing homes in the area all on one page. You’ll be able to see the names of nearby nursing homes, as well as their ratings and distances from you. is a popular nursing home compare website for finding nursing homes in the United States.

You can also search online for ratings or reviews for a specific nursing home.

Enter your zip code into the compare tool to find nursing homes in your area that have high ratings in areas such as staffing, health inspections, and quality measures.

Method 2 Gathering Information during a Visit

1. Make a list of questions to ask the nursing home staff. Write or type your questions, leaving a space after each one for you to write your answers, if desired. Inquire about how many residents the nursing home has, what kinds of activities they offer, visiting hours, and how the staff handles emergencies. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions—the more information you have, the better!

You should also inquire about the staff-to-resident ratio, whether a registered nurse is on duty at all times, how much time nurses or aides spend with residents each day, and whether they provide special dietary options.

Consider asking residents if they are comfortable and happy where they live, how long they have to wait for help, and how often they are able to spend time outside.

2. Make an appointment to visit the nursing home. While you are welcome to drop by at any time, scheduling a visit ensures that someone is available to answer all of your questions and that you receive a more thorough tour. Call the nursing home and speak with someone about visiting at a time and day that works for you.

Visiting the nursing home is critical because it will give you the best idea of whether or not it is the right fit for you.

3. Visit a nursing home to get a sense of the environment. While you’re there, check to see if the staff is polite and respectful, if the food looks appealing, if the residents have privacy, and if the nursing home is clean and well-kept. Take your time during your visit and make sure you have all of your questions answered before leaving.

It’s also a good idea to look for things like good natural lighting and whether each room has a phone and a TV.

If you are unable to visit, see if a family member or friend can do so on your behalf.

4. Discover the nursing home’s quality of life. This includes whether residents are allowed to wake up and sleep whenever they want, whether they can eat whenever they want, and how strict the visiting hours are. Most people prefer a nursing home to feel homey and inviting, similar to their own home, allowing them to maintain their independence while being cared for.

5. Bring your loved one to the nursing home to see how they feel about it. You can do this during your initial visit, or you can return after you’ve narrowed down your options. If your loved one does not feel at ease and safe in the nursing home after a visit, you may need to consider other options.

Inquire if your loved one has any specific concerns or requests about where they will be living.

Method 3 Getting Set up in the Nursing Home

1. Complete the admissions paperwork. This will most likely be done in the nursing home with the assistance of a staff member, but call or email the nursing home to find out the exact procedure. Your loved one will be required to sign the paperwork to demonstrate that they understand what the documents say.

Check ahead of time to see if you or a loved one needs to bring anything, such as a social security card.

2. To determine the payment plan, complete the financial assessment. The nursing home will require all financial information from your loved one, such as whether they are on Medicaid or Medicare, if they receive any government benefits, and if they have any life insurance policies. Answering the nursing home’s financial questions helps them determine whether your loved one will receive federal funding.

Other financial questions the nursing home may ask include whether your loved one rents or owns their home, as well as whether they have any checking or savings accounts.

3. Gather all medical and personal information about your loved one. This includes information such as their insurance information, medical records, a list of medications they are taking, and emergency contact information. Your nursing home will most likely have a list of the specific information they require. When writing down details such as medication and health status, be as specific as possible.

Your loved one’s doctor will most likely give them a physical before they enter the nursing home, so have the doctor write down any medications they’re taking, such as how often to take it and the dosage amount.

The nursing home may also inquire as to whether your loved one has any legal documents, such as a living will.

4. Assist the nursing home staff in developing a care plan. This is decided after the nursing home has reviewed the patient’s medical records. The care plan specifies what types of health services your loved one will require, how frequently they will require the services, and what supplies will be required.

The care plan also specifies the types of foods your loved one requires and desires, as well as the activities in which they should participate.

If your loved one is in a Medicare or Medicaid-certified nursing home, the nursing home is required by law to provide them with the assistance and services they require.

5. Schedule visits to the nursing home for guests. The transition into a nursing home can be difficult at times, so plan a time when your loved one will know they will be able to see family or friends. If the nursing home has specific visiting hours, make arrangements with them.

For example, suppose you intend to pay a dinner visit to a loved one every Wednesday evening.

If you are unable to visit, consider scheduling a FaceTime call or a bi-weekly phone call. You could even write them letters that they could read in the nursing home.

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