How to Choose a Nursing Home

When a loved one’s health needs call for round-the-clock care in a nursing home, it’s time to search for a facility that can help them enjoy the best possible quality of life. There are different types of nursing homes, so choosing the right facility can be a daunting task. Keep reading to learn how to find the right fit.

How to Choose a Nursing Home

There may be dozens of nursing homes within a short distance of your loved one’s home. To narrow down your options, do some research into each facility:

Visit In Person and Observe How Patients Are Cared For

After narrowing down a list of nursing homes that could meet your loved one’s needs, call each facility to schedule an in-person tour. When you tour each nursing home, pay attention to how well the staff treat the residents. 

Watch Staff-Resident Interactions

Staff-resident interaction can have a major impact on residents’ quality of life, as many studies have shown. Positive, meaningful interactions with staff can help improve residents’ moods and overall well-being, while negative interactions could leave residents feeling lonely and unwelcome. 

Watch how the staff interact with residents as you tour the facility. Note if staff display friendly body language, such as smiling or waving at residents. Observe conversations to see if the interactions seem polite and respectful. 

Observe Response Times

Nursing homes often have call systems to allow residents to signal for help when they need a nurse or caregiver. Pay attention to these systems during your in-person tours for clues about how well staff address residents’ needs.

In a well-run nursing home, you may notice staff rushing to respond to residents’ call lights quickly. But in an understaffed facility, you might notice call lights going unanswered, or residents roaming the hallways looking for an available caregiver.

Look At Residents’ Grooming

More than 90% of nursing home residents need help with three or more daily self-care activities, such as having a bath, getting dressed, or using the toilet. Residents’ hygiene and grooming can provide clues as to how well staff are keeping up with these care tasks. 

As you tour the nursing home, note if the residents look clean and well-groomed. Residents should have trimmed nails and styled hair, and be dressed in clean clothes that are appropriate for both the season and the time of day. 

Ask Questions During Your Visit

Visiting a nursing home in-person gives you the opportunity to chat with staff members from a variety of departments, or even current residents and their family members. Be prepared to ask plenty of questions. 

Talk to Staff

During a nursing home tour, your tour guide isn’t the only staff member you can talk to. You may also meet caregivers, nurses, housekeepers, social workers, kitchen staff, activity managers, or other Care Members. If you have the opportunity to chat with staff, note if they’re friendly and willing to answer a couple questions, or if they seem irritated or impatient. Some questions to consider asking include:

Talk to Current Residents

Current residents and their family members can be a valuable source of information, if they’re willing to chat with visitors. They have first-hand knowledge about what it’s really like to live in the nursing home you’re visiting. Some questions to consider asking current residents could include:

Ask About Activities

During a facility tour, it’s important to ask plenty of questions about care quality, but don’t forget to ask about the activity program, too. Leisure activities can play a major role in your loved one’s quality of life. Here are a few questions you might want to ask:

Find Facilities Located Close to Relatives and Friends

When it comes to choosing a nursing home, one of the most important considerations is location. Ensure the facility you select is close to where your loved one’s friends and family members live or work. This makes it easier for visitors to drop in and say hello, or to take part in the facility’s scheduled social events.

ArchCare offers five nursing homes to give residents the opportunity to live in a familiar neighborhood. Contact your loved one’s preferred location for more information:

Let’s talk about what you need. And what you want.