Choosing the best nursing home for yourself or a loved one is always an important decision. Take the time to carefully explore your options, research the quality and costs involved, and tour the skilled nursing facilities on your short list.
What else should you consider? To help, we compiled a handy checklist to make sure you do not overlook anything — and remember to ask the right questions.
When starting the search for the right facility for you or a loved one, consider the following.
Nursing Home Reviews
Online nursing home reviews are growing in popularity, but knowing which ones to trust can be tricky. Are they authentic? It is not always easy to tell.
Instead, check nursing home reviews from known, reputable sources. Government agencies regularly visit and inspect skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, for example, rates all skilled nursing facilities, awarding them a 1-star to 5-star rating (a 4-star or 5-star nursing home provides the highest quality).
Accreditation and Awards
Some non-government agencies also provide trustworthy nursing home reviews. Providigm lists high quality nursing homes by state through their Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) accreditation, for example.
Another reputable independent organization, the American Healthcare Association / National Center for Assisted Living identifies outstanding quality and improvements in quality of care for seniors and people with disabilities through their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.
Nursing homes that earn awards for quality from outside organizations usually post these awards in a very visible spot. If you tour a facility and do not see any recent awards, be sure to ask.
Nursing Home Services & Costs
When choosing the best nursing home, make sure the facility offers the services you are likely to need now and in the future. Examples include rehabilitation services, physical therapy, dialysis and respiratory care, among others.
Nursing home costs can vary by the services offered, by the type of patient health insurance – Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, other health insurance, long term care insurance, private pay, etc. – and by other factors. The good news is that skilled nursing facilities have dedicated staff that can help estimate costs in advance and explain the process for accessing care.
Location, Location, Location
Most people automatically choose a nursing home within driving distance to make it easier for friends and family to visit. If you find a highly rated nursing home that seems too far to visit frequently, ask if they have any closer locations – some skilled nursing facilities are part of a network with multiple locations. Remember that in todays ‘connected world,’ it is easy to arrange for face-to-face visits via mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
We hope this checklist is helpful and that you or your loved one find the high quality care you deserve. If you think of another factor to include on a future checklist, please leave your suggestion in the comments section below.