Selecting A Nursing Home

Deciding on a nursing home can often feel overwhelming. Follow these steps to make your search for a long-term care facility easier.

1. Make a list.

Find out what nursing homes you may be interested in. If discharging from a hospital, ask the discharge planner for area nursing homes that have available beds. You can also seek assistance from a social service agency or case manager. Ask people you trust about their experiences.

Looking for a nursing home in North Carolina? We can help.

2. Call for information.

Contact each facility on your list. Find out what services they provide.
Ask about:

  • Medicare/Medicaid certification
  • Levels of care offered (skilled, intermediate, custodial)
  • In-house services (physical therapy, counseling, pharmacy, etc.)
  • Basic monthly fees
  • Non-covered or extra charges (laundry, telephone, hairdressing, etc.)

3. Visit the nursing home.

Perhaps the most important step is seeing the facility yourself.

  • Make an appointment for a tour. If possible, visit more than once and at different times (morning and afternoon). Ask if you can see a resident’s room and eat a meal in the dining room.
  • Use our list of questions to keep track of important issues. Talk to staff, families and visitors.
  • Ask questions about anything you see that concerns you. For example, a nursing home resident may call out because they are cognitively impaired not because of pain, etc.
  • Be observant. More important than décor is the quality of interaction between staff and residents and their families. Look at safety and security issues.
  • Ask about policies such as staffing, training, activities and recreation, lost personal articles, meals and food preferences.
  • Think about proximity for visits by family and friends. Frequent visits and support eases the transition from their home and familiar environment.

We know this is not an easy decision or transition. The NC Health Care Facilities Association is there to help. If you need assistance, please contact us.