While the healthcare center's location is an important factor, keep in mind that
there are many considerations when choosing a healthcare center.

Here are some main points to examine:

  • The nursing home is Medicare- and Medicaid-certified.
  • The healthcare center has the level of care you need (e.g. skilled, custodial), and a bed is available.
  • Does the healthcare center offer physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapy?
  • How many days a week is therapy offered?
  • Does the healthcare center offer a unit where specialized services take place?
  • What types of illnesses has the healthcare center treated?
  • Does the healthcare center have 24-hour RN coverage?
  • What is the average length of stay for the healthcare center’s patients?
  • How frequently do physicians see patients?
  • The healthcare center appears clean, well-kept and is odor-free.
  • Residents are clean, appropriately dressed for the season or time of day, and well-groomed.
  • Staff members are warm, polite, and respectful.
  • Does the healthcare center offer a wide range of activities and social events?
  • Is the healthcare center located close enough for friends and family to visit?
  • Is there a full-time social worker on staff?
  • Do residents have access to a private telephone?
  • There are quiet areas where residents can visit with friends and family.
  • Nutritious snacks are available upon request.
  • The nursing home has outdoor areas for resident use and the staff will help residents go outside.
  • Residents get preventive care, like a yearly flu shot, to help keep them healthy.
  • The healthcare center has an arrangement with a nearby hospital for emergencies.
  • How does the healthcare center plan for the patient’s treatment and ultimate discharge to home?

Would you like a print-ready list of factors?


When is a nursing center needed?

When the family cannot handle the needs of the patient or 24/7 nursing care is identified. Early planning and discussion should allow time to develop an appropriate plan of action.

How do I know which nursing center to choose?

You and your family member(s) should select several nursing centers for evaluation. Placement often happens very quickly so contact, visit and tour as many nursing centers as practical. Be sure to ask questions that address what you believe will be most important to your loved one. We offer a convenient informational sheet to help you consider the various factors. Please talk to our admissions staff for a free copy.

Is there someone that can help us select the right nursing center?

Your doctor or a member of the healthcare team will often know/recommend suitable nursing centers. Additionally, if you or a loved one is in the hospital, a Social Worker or Case Manager can assist with the selection process.

Why can't I stay in the hospital?

Hospitals are designed for patients who have serious medical problems that can be treated only in a hospital. Insurance companies may review and stop insurance benefits when you no longer need acute hospital care. A nursing center can provide the continuing medical care and rehabilitation services you need to help you recover from illness or injury so that you can return home as soon as possible.

Who pays for nursing home care?

The social worker at the hospital or nursing center will assist you in determining the appropriate payer source (which may include Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance). If you need Medicaid to cover the cost of nursing home care, you will be referred to a Medicaid worker to help you with the Medicaid application process.

Will my long-term care insurance pay for the nursing home?

Long-term care insurance is becoming more common, but benefits vary by insurance provider and policy. It is important to check with your insurance carrier to determine your policy’s exact coverage for ongoing, long-term care.

What happens if I run out of money?

When "private pay" residents have used nearly all of their financial resources, they become eligible for Medicaid. If you need Medicaid to cover the cost of nursing home care, we will refer you to a Medicaid worker to help you with the Medicaid application process.

Can I leave the nursing home and return?

Nursing center residents have the right to leave a nursing center if they choose to do so.

How can I best plan for care ahead of time?

Meet with a lawyer who has expertise in senior issues (called an elder attorney) for advice on estate planning, Medicaid, Medicare, and long-term care insurance. There are also senior care consultants who offer advice on a fee-for-service basis.

What do I bring with me when I move in?

Families are encouraged to decorate the resident's living area with personal belongings such as flowers, pictures, and other memorabilia.
  • Personal clothing (day and night-time wear)
  • Comfortable, non-skid shoes
  • Lightweight sweaters
  • Personal equipment (wheelchairs, walkers, canes, etc.)

What can I do to make the transition easier for my loved one?

There are many decisions that go into the process of choosing a nursing home for yourself or someone you care for. It is normal for the family and the resident to experience some degree of anxiety about the move. A life change as important as moving into a nursing home should be handled with care and should be made as comfortable as possible. Residents and family members can make the transition easiest by remaining informed and by proactively seeking a caring environment where the resident will feel most at home. During the transition, frustrations may occur while your loved one is becoming accustomed to the new surroundings.

Following are some suggestions to help make the transition easiest:

  • Remain active in your loved one's life.
  • Visit as often as possible and encourage their friends to visit.
  • Attend regular family meetings the healthcare center may hold and become involved in ongoing events and activities.
  • Bring pictures and familiar mementos when you visit (family members, church activities, friends, etc.)
  • Engage your loved one in conversation about their new surroundings and listen as they speak about their experiences in the past and present.
  • Discuss current events to help maintain awareness.
  • Nothing can replace your personal visits to a long-term care healthcare center.
  • Meeting the staff and caregivers and staying involved in the care of your loved one is vital.

What should I do if I have a problem that I'd like to have addressed?

You should always feel free to talk to anyone at the healthcare center about your loved one's care. The administrator is the highest authority on-site and is available to discuss any concerns you might have. If you have a specific issue, please feel free to discuss it with the appropriate department head (Director of Nursing, Food Service Supervisor, etc.).