Questions to Ask When Choosing a Nursing Home For Your Loved One

While making a choice to put a loved one in a nursing home is not something anyone wants to do, it is often necessary to ensure your loved one receives the care they need. When choosing a prospective nursing home, family members need to be aware of many factors that can affect the health and well-being of their loved one. There are several questions you can ask when you are investigating which facility will be best for your loved one. You can research nursing homes in Illinois through the state Department of Public Health website to help answer many of the following questions.

What are the staffing ratios?

Staffing ratios are important. You want to be sure there is an adequate number of registered nurses, licensed and certified nursing assistants, and other aides to ensure that your loved one receives appropriate attention.

What is the staff turnover?

It is never a good sign when a nursing home has a high turnover rate with their staff. A low turnover signifies the nursing home is stable, and it allows residents to get to know staff members and be comfortable with the people providing that care.

What type of services does the facility offer?

One of the most critical aspects of a nursing home is understanding what types of services and programs are offered. Ask what the status of the recreation and social services activities are at the nursing home. This includes both medically relevant services such as physical therapy and rehabilitation as well as socially important services such as arts and crafts, games, concerts, and more.

How much time do nurses and aides spend with residents every day?

Staffing ratios play a large part in how much time individual residents get to spend with nurses and aides each day. The more individualized time your loved one receives, the better.

Is the facility accredited?

Nursing homes in Illinois are licensed, regulated, inspected, and/or certified by various public and private agencies at both state and federal levels. This includes the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA). Regardless of what kind of facility you are considering, make sure that they are certified by an accredited governmental agency.

What is the facility’s reputation?

You need to do a deep dive into the facility’s record and reputation. After you check to ensure that the facility is accredited or certified, read every review on the Internet that you can find. While every facility is likely to have bad reviews of some sort, you should be wary of facilities they continuously rate badly.

What do you see when you go into the facility?

You need to visit and tour every facility you are considering. Do not be shy about asking to see every area of a nursing home before making a decision to put your loved one there. Use every one of your senses when you go to visit these facilities. Do they look clean? How do they smell? Do you see anything that concerns you? A facility may meet every requirement and have good staffing ratios, but if you sense something is wrong, you may need to consider another facility.

Does the location of the nursing home work?

You need to be sure that you choose a facility in a location that works for everybody involved. Is the facility located in a place where you, other family members, and friends can visit regularly? Choosing a well-regarded facility versus one that is closer to home is often a balancing act that many family members go through.

Nursing home evaluation checklist

Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates is passionate about keeping loved ones safe and has fought for many families who have suffered neglect in nursing home institutions. Our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys have put together a printable evaluation checklist to help families throughout the process.

Click here to download