It is very important for you to visit several nursing
homes, to compare their services and programs. These visits
will provide you with insight into the "environment" each
nursing home provides. It will also offer the opportunity
to visit with staff members, residents, and families to ask
key questions and learn valuable information to help you make
the right nursing home decision.
It is a good idea to schedule an appointment before you make
The best time to visit a nursing home is late morning or
midday so that you will be able to visit with staff members
and residents as well as observe the afternoon meal. Additionally,
if you visit during the afternoon, you can observe the activity
and restorative programs.
When you arrive at the nursing home, ask to meet with the
person responsible for admissions. The admissions director
has the job of coordinating the admissions process, answering
questions about the facility, and touring prospective residents.
The admissions director also has the responsibility of explaining
the costs associated at the facility, and explaining your
rights under Medicare
The nursing home will aid you in the applications for these
Explain to the admissions director the purpose of your visit,
and ask if you can tour the facility. It is important to ask
any questions regarding the quality of care; restorative care;
specialized programs; activities; dining; social services;
and laundry services, and to discuss the cost and payment
During a tour of a nursing home, examine the general layout
of the building, room size, nursing stations, dining facilities,
lounge areas, and the therapy and treatment rooms. Assess
the quality of care given to residents. Is the building clean
and well maintained? Do staff members interact well with the
residents, and do they treat them with dignity? Are residents'
requests being met promptly? Are people dressed appropriately?
Do residents appear eager to discuss their feelings about
the nursing home?
Ask the admissions director about speaking to a resident.
Observe the goings-on around the facility. In making your
observations, you should form an overall impression of the
nursing home. Be certain to bring a notepad and pen and write
down both your positive and negative perceptions from the
facility. Taking notes will help you make a better decision
about which nursing home to choose.