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How To Choose The Best Nursing Home For Your Loved One

Whiteside & Goldberg > Nursing Home Abuse  > How To Choose The Best Nursing Home For Your Loved One

How To Choose The Best Nursing Home For Your Loved One

Deciding to relocate your loved one to a nursing home can be a difficult decision to make. There is a lot of trust involved, and you of course want to make sure they are getting the care that they deserve when you cannot be with them. The National Institute on Aging gives a brief overview of how to go about choosing the best nursing home.

1. Decide on the specific type of home you want for your loved one.

Determine what factors are essential and which you could do without. For example, do you want a religious based community, what type of amenities does your loved one require, how much care do they need, do they require a special care unit for dementia patients? Answering these types of questions will help narrow down your search to find facilities that have everything needed to home your loved one comfortably. There are multiple different types of long-term care facilities for you to choose from, most are dependent on the type of care your loved one needs.

Board and Care Homes

• These homes are small scale private facilities usually with less than 20 residents. Staff are available 24/7, however nursing and medical care are generally not provided in house. This option may be better for those who want a more hospitable and small community feel.

Assisted Living

• Assisting living facilities usually provide many services to their residents. They generally have different levels of care that can be provided depending on each residents’ specific needs. There is usually 24-hour supervision, security, 24/7 staff, social events, help with medications, possible group outings, and 3 meals a day.

Nursing Homes (Skilled nursing facilities)

• Nursing homes provide a higher level of care than assisted living facilities. There is a large focus on medical care, and rehab services (physical, occupational, and speech) are also usually offered. Nursing home also tend to have 24-hour supervision, 3 meals a day, and assistance with everyday activities.

Independent Living

• Independent living facilities are geared to seniors who don’t necessarily need all the constant supervision as those in nursing homes or assisted living but may want that community feel. The main benefit of residing in an independent living facility is that some of those annoying daily responsibilities are taken off your plate. No need to worry about housekeeping, landscaping, laundry, or cooking. They also have the added benefit of 24-hour surveillance, as well as different activities and social events to keep them occupied.

2. Talk to the people around you

Ask around your community of friends and family to see if they have any experience with local nursing homes, or any advice they could offer. It could also be a good idea to talk to your loved one’s doctor to see if they have preferred nursing homes that they know provide exceptional care.

3. Call around

Make a list of potential homes and call each of them to find out about occupancy, pricing, and get a feel for their overall ambience.

4. Visit

Once your list of potential homes is narrowed down to a few, call each one to plan a visit with the director and the nursing director. Be sure to check to see if there is adequate handicap access, residents look happy to be there, and staff and residents seem to have healthy interactions.

5. Ask questions

Key questions to ask may pertain to:

  • Bad odors/Good odors (may indicate that they be hiding a bad odor).
  • How long key staff have worked in the facility?
  • Is the nursing home Medicare/Medicaid certified?

A nursing home checklist provided by Medicare.gov can be found here

6. Visit the facility again

Stop by your possible options unexpectedly. It is best if you do it on a different day of the week and different time of day as your last visit so you may be able to see some different staff members than the initial time. This is a good chance to see how they are when they aren’t expecting visitors. Take this opportunity to see how the dining room is run, do the residents look comfortable and excited to be there? Does the food look appetizing? Also be sure to look around and see if it seems like the residents have different chances to keep occupied. Are there engaging activities? Puzzles? Card games? Bingo? It is also important to examine the interactions between the residents. Does it seem like they have positive interactions between each other? Does it appear to be a supportive and welcoming community?

7. Request to see the current inspection report

Any nursing home that receives any money from the government is required to adhere to an inspection. Before signing any contract be sure to ask to see the current inspection report as well as the certification.

8. Carefully read your contract

Before committing your loved one to a facility, be sure to read the fine print. If you don’t fully understand something in the contract, don’t be afraid to ask. It may also be a good idea to get a second opinion, get a trustworthy friend or family member to give the contract a second look to see if they catch anything concerning that you may not have seen the first time.


If you or a loved one has suffered injury or abuse as a resident of a nursing home, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. If you think you have a claim in the Chicago area, reach out to Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd. They have experience proving and winning many nursing home abuse cases and will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. They offer a free consultation and do not charge you anything until you win a settlement. The experienced attorneys at Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd. fight to secure your financial future. For more information on nursing home abuse lawsuits, call 312-334-6875 for the Whiteside & Goldberg Michigan Avenue location and 815-730-7535 for their Shorewood office.

The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd.

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