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Choosing a Facility

The family plays an important role in the admission to a nursing home. It is important to work closely with the hospital discharge planner throughout the process of locating a nursing home for your loved one. It is most helpful if you can visit several facilities that are able to accept your loved one so you can choose the one that will best meet his or her needs. It is usually preferable to find a nursing home located near family and friends so they can visit often. Contact with family and a friend is important to the nursing home resident.

Before Choosing

Visit
It is important to make an appointment with the admissions staff when you visit the nursing home. Additionally, make unannounced visits. If the admissions staff discourages unannounced visits, look elsewhere.

Appearances
You may have friends or family members who are familiar with local nursing homes and can help you make your choice. Your impressions when you visit the facilities under consideration are very important. As you visit nursing homes, observe the cleanliness and maintenance of the facility and the conduct of staff. Are the residents dressed and clean? Do they appear to be cared for properly? Talk to residents about the care they receive; look at the kinds of activities offered; consider the quality and quantity of food and how staff interacts with the residents.

Compare
Compare a few nursing homes and weigh the pros and cons of each, then trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable at the visit, your loved one will probably not feel comfortable living in the facility.

Admission Process
When an appropriate nursing home has been located, you and/or your loved one will need to complete the paperwork portion of the admission process. The admissions staff will assist you with this.

Additional Information

Nursing Home Rating System
Medicare offers a rating system for nursing homes to help consumers, their families, and caregivers compare nursing homes more easily and help identify areas about which you may want to ask questions. This rating system is based on continued efforts as a result of the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA '87), a nursing home reform law, and more recent quality improvement campaigns such as the Advancing Excellence in America's Nursing Homes, a coalition of consumers, health care providers, and nursing home professionals. Review Medicare's Five Star rating system.

Publications
It may be difficult to know which facility to choose. Fortunately, there are a number of publications and websites that may help: The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care has publications and information on their website that may be useful. Other quality indicators are also available.