Checklist – Choosing a Nursing Home

Published In Nursing Home

April 28th, 2016

According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, slightly over 5 percent of the 65+ population occupy nursing homes, congregate care, assisted living, and board-and-care homes, and about 4.2 percent are in nursing homes at any given time. The rate of nursing home use increases with age from 1.4 percent of the young-old to 24.5 percent of the oldest-old, and 50 percent of those 95 and older live in nursing homes.

According to Morningstar:

  • 12 million Americans expected to need long-term care in 2020.
  • 40% of individuals who reach age 65 will enter a nursing home during their lifetime.
  • 10% of people who enter a nursing home who will stay there five or more years.
  • The median annual rate, nursing-home care in U.S. is $73,000

In light of the fact that so many people are facing the nursing home decision, having some strategy for finding a good facility is critical. A few things to consider when choosing a nursing home are listed here. It is important for you and your family members to visit the nursing home to make sure that it meets your needs, as well as those of your family.

Questions to Ask

Is the nursing home accepting new residents? Yes/No
Is it easy to visit for family and friends? Yes/No
Does the nursing home use hospitals where my doctor practices? Yes/No
Is the level of services I need available? Yes/No
Does the nursing home have a variety of activities I might enjoy? Yes/No
Do residents appear clean and well groomed? Yes/No
Do the residents have the same staff on a daily basis? Yes/No
      • Is there enough staff available to assist residents? Yes/No
      • Does the staff respond quickly to residents’ calls for help? Yes/No
Does the nursing home have a resident and/or family council? Yes/No
Is the nursing home clean and pleasant? Yes/No
Have Medicare and/or Medicaid certified the facility? Yes/No
Are the nursing home and administrator licensed? Yes/No
How much is the cost of care in this nursing home?
      • What services are included in this price?
      • What additional costs will I have to pay?

Ask to see the nursing home’s last annual state inspection report. Did the report find any problems? Ask how the problems were fixed.

 Download and Print the Checklist (PDF)

Documents You Need to Have

When a person is admitted to a nursing home, the facility will require a fair amount of documentation as part of the process. This includes:

  • Statement from MD specifying need for skilled care
  • Primary Diagnosis
  • Medical history
  • Medications
  • Care plan describing person’s ability to perform activities of daily living
  • Insurance cards
  • Durable powers of attorney
  • Medical permissions

At the end of the day, the priority is that a loved one is in a nursing home that provides good quality care to meet their care needs.

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