What You Need to Know When Going to a Nursing Home

older man being helped out of a chair

It can get to a point in life when you need full-time care; this is where a nursing home comes in handy. A nursing home, is also referred to as a skilled nursing facility, provides several services. The services provided here are under the umbrella of personal and health care. 

There may be a number of reasons this may be beneficial for you. In our old age, sometimes we get to the point where we can no longer care for ourselves. It happens to all of us eventually and is nothing to feel ashamed of us. For some, a nursing home is a temporary situation following surgery. Other times it is a more long-term arrangement. Living at a nursing home cause be helpful if you are experiencing health difficulties as medically trained staff can be there to assist you. 

Before you sign up for any nursing home whether it is for yourself or a family member, you need to know a few things about them. These things can help you decide, depending on your particular needs. Here are the things you need to know before settling for any nursing home, regardless of the flashy brochure.

What You Want

What you want is quite crucial as it helps you do away with most concerns about nursing homes. If you don’t get what you want, what’s the essence of being there in the first place? Some of the things you need to look at when searching for a nursing home include:

  • Hospice care
  • Special care units
  • Physical therapy
  • Religious connection
  • Be close to family and friends

The list is endless, and the home needs to tick most of your boxes if you have multiple needs. You will probably be there for a short time after leaving the hospital; you want it to be better than the normal and boring hospital environment.

For other reasons, you may be there for a while, but you need it catering to your needs regardless.

Ask for Suggestions

When going to a nursing home, you need to have had suggestions from the people you trust around you. You can start by talking to your family, friends, social workers, etc. Pick their minds on some of the best places people have found comfortable around.

You can also talk to family in the healthcare sector for better suggestions. You’ll get a guide on the best ones that will provide special care for your needs. If they’ve been or had relatives there before, the better.

Also, check your latest news. You will want to select a nursing home that has a great reputation and has not been under fire for any staff shortages or coronavirus outbreaks. 

Get in Touch

After talking with your connections, you’ve probably narrowed down the list. You need to now get in touch with each one of the suggestions you have. You are looking to find out the costs and facility capacity, among other questions.

When talking to them, ensure you take notes and note how they respond. You can start ruling out those that don’t appeal to you early enough. It would help if you also looked to get a long term insurance quote to cover the cost of your care from the phone call.

The phone call should help you narrow down the list even further as terms are quite different across different homes.

Visit the Facility

You certainly aren’t going to show up to the facility without getting a feel of what it’s like. Visiting the narrowed-down facilities will help you make an even more informed decision. You want to first interact with the staff more and see what they’re about since they will be the ones taking care of you.

The nursing home staff need to be professional, have the right attitude, and have the right experience for your particular needs. Ask them as many questions as you feel necessary to gauge how they respond. You should also observe their interactions with other patients. 

At times, look at how they conduct themselves with others. Settle for the ones that offer the residents nursing care and are respectful, warm, and polite.

Take a note of how the patients look. Do they seem like they get regular adequate care? Do they have a happy demeanor? Is there a place where they can gather for activities? Does the nursing home ever host events? You don’t want to be somewhere where all you can do is play cards and watch TV. 

Visit Again

The first visit should be a scheduled one, and the home will want to put its best foot forward. You need to visit a second time, and this time don’t schedule. It should be an impromptu visit where you can meet other staffers.

This visit will help you make the final decision on the facility. Ideally, make the stop during mealtime and see if the place is as attractive as in your first visit. Be keen on the flaws at this time and if they’re things you can live with.

Read the Contract

You’ll be entering into a legal contract when you’re going to the nursing home. Ensure you read it, and if you can’t, get someone to help you with it. If you have a lawyer, you may want them to review it as well. They may also help you make the right decision. Sometimes nursing homes can be sneaky about their terms and conditions. If you do not have insurance that will cover the whole cost of your stay there the contract may give them the ability to take your assets. Don’t sign until you are satisfied with the terms of the contract!


Settling for the right nursing home isn’t an easy task. It would help if you had an idea of what you’re signing up for before going there. If needed, ask your medical proxy and family members to help in selecting the right nursing home for you. Above are some things you need to know when going into a nursing home. 


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