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U.S. News

Top 10 tips for picking the perfect nursing home

By Jake Beardslee · November 16, 2023

In brief…

  • Location, grounds, amenities key factors
  • Staffing levels, qualifications critical
  • Daily care and quality of life considerations
  • Thorough vetting pays off
Choosing a nursing home requires careful consideration of location, staffing, care routines and quality of life.  Pasja1000/Pixabay

Choosing a nursing home for a loved one is a big decision that requires careful research beyond just asking for recommendations. “I always encourage families to dig deeper and find anecdotal, informal information,” Nancy Avitabile, an aging life care manager in New York, told U.S. News & World Report. Here are 10 key factors to consider when picking a quality nursing home:

  1. Location - Pick somewhere close enough for frequent visits. “Don’t compromise on proximity to family and friends,” Avitabile advises.

  2. Grounds - Tour the building and grounds to check for cleanliness and outdoor areas.

  3. Room Amenities - Inspect long-term care rooms, not just rehab units.

  4. Safety Record - Check state inspection reports and quality ratings.

  5. Staff-to-Patient Ratio - Ensure adequate staffing levels.

  6. Staff Retention - Ask about turnover rates. High retention signifies happy employees.

  7. Staff Qualifications - Confirm thorough training and background checks.

  8. Daily Care Routines - Inquire about personalized care plans.

  9. Medical Assistance - Verify on-site doctor availability for emergencies.

  10. Quality of Life - Look for robust social options like activities. According to Avitabile, “Ask how the activity director would engage your family member.”

Making time to thoroughly vet nursing home options will help you find the best fit for your loved one. As Dr. Frank Flowers of Kaiser Permanente says, “Even though the connections with staff and administrators may not be in person, your demonstrations of care and concern for your loved one will only help to reinforce and enhance the attention given to your loved one.”