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Health Tip: Choosing a Nursing Home

-- If you're evaluating nursing homes for a loved one, there are many things to consider and a lot of questions to ask.

The U.S. National Institute on Aging offers these guidelines:

  • Consider proximity to family and friends.
  • Note the resources offered by each home that may apply to your loved one, such as whether it provides dementia care.
  • Question family, friends and nearby residents to get a feel for each home and its quality of care.
  • Take a tour of each home and ask many questions of the staff. Evaluate whether each home is certified by Medicare/Medicaid and offers handicap access.
  • Also pay attention to whether the residents look happy and well-cared for, and if there seems to be enough staff on hand to care for all residents.
  • Meet with each home's director, social worker, or chief of nursing. Ask about staff turnover, particularly in management positions.
  • Stop by unannounced to have another look; see what's going on when the staff isn't expecting a visitor.
  • Make sure you fully understand the details of the contract, costs and any waiting lists.
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Posted: September 2009