Long-Term Care: talking, deciding, taking action Home

The Nursing Home Visit Guide PDF download can help you compare different nursing homes.


For additional help with choosing a nursing home, read a Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home. This resource is from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and can be ordered at www.medicare.gov
or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).


Visit and Compare

As you visit each facility, take in as much information as you can through your senses of vision, hearing, taste, and smell.

eyeLook around and mentally note what you see. Are you viewing a comfortable environment where residents appear content and relaxed? Do you see activities taking place? Do you see staff members taking care of or conversing with residents?

earWhat do you hear? Are you hearing pleasant sounds or is the noise level distracting? Do you hear dishes banging in the dining area? Is the facility’s intercom excessively disruptive? Do you notice areas where the noise level is peaceful and calming?

nose and mouthWhat do you smell? Are there any unpleasant odors? Are you intrigued by the inviting smell of lunch or dinner? If you’re offered a sample, is the meal flavorful and served at an appropriate temperature?

Remember, it’s your right and responsibility to ask questions and make observations. You should visit each facility more than once and at different times to get an accurate impression of how the facility functions. It is also a good idea to take notes. This printable Nursing Home Visit GuidePDF downloadcan be used when visiting each facility.

The nursing home decision is difficult for most families. Transitioning into a facility will be a time of adjustment for the resident and his/her family members. Open communication with staff and frequent visitation by family may make the transition easier. Family members can be a great source of support and advocacy as the individual adjusts to life in a new environment. A nursing facility that was at one time dreaded, can become a welcoming and comfortable home with staff who care for and about the residents and their families.