Search Articles

Find Attorneys

Selecting the Nursing Home That Is Right for You

  • December 13th, 2022

Health care worker interacting with senior patient.While many older adults prefer to stay in personal or family homes as they age, that is only sometimes feasible. Long-term care in a nursing home may be the best option for those who require continuous assistance with persistent conditions, such as dementia.

As the quality and offerings of nursing homes vary, choosing the most suitable facility for your situation is crucial. Finding a nursing home that best fits your needs may require researching and visiting multiple options.

1. Consider Cost

One important factor to reflect on when exploring your choices is the expense. Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey revealed that the median price of a semiprivate room at a nursing home was $7,908. For an individual room, the median monthly fee was even higher at $9,034.

Local Elder Law Attorneys in Your City

Elder Law Attorney

Firm Name
City, State

Elder Law Attorney

Firm Name
City, State

Elder Law Attorney

Firm Name
City, State

Private nursing home insurance may cover some or all of the cost. Although Medicare includes medical care for nursing home residents and short-term care in a skilled nursing facility, it will not provide long-term care.

For those on Medicaid, the program covers the total nursing home fees. Medicaid beneficiaries need to consider whether the facility accepts Medicaid. Individuals who plan to enroll in Medicaid once they become eligible might consider selecting a Medicaid-approved facility to make the transition easier.

The American Council on Aging's online search tool allows users to find facilities that accept Medicaid, Medicare, and Veteran's Health Benefits.

2. What Services Are Available?

In addition to cost, those looking at nursing home options should compare the services available across facilities. Some nursing homes have specific care for individuals with memory challenges, for instance.

Nursing homes typically offer activities, such as outings, and amenities, like a recreation room, gym, and television. Assess whether the facility provides transportation to doctor’s appointments and the quality and suitability of the meals.

Rather than focusing on the range of services available, consider whether the nursing home’s services fit your unique needs. Those with beloved pets might consider whether the facility allows pet visits, whereas spiritual individuals might want to verify that the facility provides access to religious services. Memory care units might be a necessity for those with dementia.

3. Evaluate Location

Moving into long-term care is often stressful. Choosing a nursing home close to your hometown, family, or community can help ease the transition. When the nursing home is near to family and friends, loved ones may visit more easily and frequently, providing essential social support.

4. Review the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Reports

To evaluate the quality of nursing homes in your area, try Care Compare, which rates nursing homes out of five stars. Care Compare offers ratings for staffing, health inspections, and quality measures.

  • The staff-to-patient ratio and the turnover rate are the basis for the staffing rating.

  • The results of health assessments inform the health inspection rating. Recent health inspection results are available for review, as well as the number of complaints against the facility.

  • Quality measures include assessments that reveal the nursing home's grade of care. For long-term care residents, low rates of hospitalizations and emergency room visits suggest superior care.

U.S. News and World Report also assesses nursing homes near you, providing ratings for short-term and long-term care.

5. Visit the Facility

Medicare.gov recommends that those looking into nursing homes visit tour facilities with a trusted loved one before making a decision.

Consider the facility’s state, such as whether it is well-lit and accessible. Evaluate the helpfulness of the staff. Ask questions. Write down any additional questions after the visit and follow up.

To learn more about choosing a nursing home, review Medicare.gov’s guide.


Last Modified: 12/13/2022
Learn the secrets of estate planning from an expert
ADVERTISEMENT
Medicaid 101
What Medicaid Covers

In addition to nursing home care, Medicaid may cover home care and some care in an assisted living facility. Coverage in your state may depend on waivers of federal rules.

READ MORE
How to Qualify for Medicaid

To be eligible for Medicaid long-term care, recipients must have limited incomes and no more than $2,000 (in most states). Special rules apply for the home and other assets.

READ MORE
Medicaid’s Protections for Spouses

Spouses of Medicaid nursing home residents have special protections to keep them from becoming impoverished.

READ MORE
What Medicaid Covers

In addition to nursing home care, Medicaid may cover home care and some care in an assisted living facility. Coverage in your state may depend on waivers of federal rules.

READ MORE
How to Qualify for Medicaid

To be eligible for Medicaid long-term care, recipients must have limited incomes and no more than $2,000 (in most states). Special rules apply for the home and other assets.

READ MORE
Medicaid’s Protections for Spouses

Spouses of Medicaid nursing home residents have special protections to keep them from becoming impoverished.

READ MORE
Medicaid Planning Strategies

Careful planning for potentially devastating long-term care costs can help protect your estate, whether for your spouse or for your children.

READ MORE
Estate Recovery: Can Medicaid Take My House After I’m Gone?

If steps aren't taken to protect the Medicaid recipient's house from the state’s attempts to recover benefits paid, the house may need to be sold.

READ MORE
Help Qualifying and Paying for Medicaid, Or Avoiding Nursing Home Care

There are ways to handle excess income or assets and still qualify for Medicaid long-term care, and programs that deliver care at home rather than in a nursing home.

READ MORE
Are Adult Children Responsible for Their Parents’ Care?

Most states have laws on the books making adult children responsible if their parents can't afford to take care of themselves.

READ MORE
Applying for Medicaid

Applying for Medicaid is a highly technical and complex process, and bad advice can actually make it more difficult to qualify for benefits.

READ MORE
Alternatives to Medicaid

Medicare's coverage of nursing home care is quite limited. For those who can afford it and who can qualify for coverage, long-term care insurance is the best alternative to Medicaid.

READ MORE
ElderLaw 101
Estate Planning

Distinguish the key concepts in estate planning, including the will, the trust, probate, the power of attorney, and how to avoid estate taxes.

READ MORE
Grandchildren

Learn about grandparents’ visitation rights and how to avoid tax and public benefit issues when making gifts to grandchildren.

READ MORE
Guardianship/Conservatorship

Understand when and how a court appoints a guardian or conservator for an adult who becomes incapacitated, and how to avoid guardianship.

READ MORE
Health Care Decisions

We need to plan for the possibility that we will become unable to make our own medical decisions. This may take the form of a health care proxy, a medical directive, a living will, or a combination of these.

READ MORE
Estate Planning

Distinguish the key concepts in estate planning, including the will, the trust, probate, the power of attorney, and how to avoid estate taxes.

READ MORE
Grandchildren

Learn about grandparents’ visitation rights and how to avoid tax and public benefit issues when making gifts to grandchildren.

READ MORE
Guardianship/Conservatorship

Understand when and how a court appoints a guardian or conservator for an adult who becomes incapacitated, and how to avoid guardianship.

READ MORE
Health Care Decisions

We need to plan for the possibility that we will become unable to make our own medical decisions. This may take the form of a health care proxy, a medical directive, a living will, or a combination of these.

READ MORE
Long-Term Care Insurance

Understand the ins and outs of insurance to cover the high cost of nursing home care, including when to buy it, how much to buy, and which spouse should get the coverage.

READ MORE
Medicare

Learn who qualifies for Medicare, what the program covers, all about Medicare Advantage, and how to supplement Medicare’s coverage.

READ MORE
Retirement Planning

We explain the five phases of retirement planning, the difference between a 401(k) and an IRA, types of investments, asset diversification, the required minimum distribution rules, and more.

READ MORE
Senior Living

Find out how to choose a nursing home or assisted living facility, when to fight a discharge, the rights of nursing home residents, all about reverse mortgages, and more.

READ MORE
Social Security

Get a solid grounding in Social Security, including who is eligible, how to apply, spousal benefits, the taxation of benefits, how work affects payments, and SSDI and SSI.

READ MORE
Special Needs Planning

Learn how a special needs trust can preserve assets for a person with disabilities without jeopardizing Medicaid and SSI, and how to plan for when caregivers are gone.

READ MORE
Veterans Benefits

Explore benefits for older veterans, including the VA’s disability pension benefit, aid and attendance, and long-term care coverage for veterans and surviving spouses.

READ MORE