Choosing a Nursing Home? Consider These 4 Things

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Any big decision requires research and careful consideration. Selecting a nursing home for your parent, spouse or loved one is no exception. It’s hard enough to recognize a family member needs more care than you can provide at home. So it’s important to vet a few facilities, ask questions and take tours so you can make the very best decision possible.

As you’re choosing a nursing home, consider these four things:

1. Is the staff well trained and experienced?

The nursing home director may be the one to give you a tour and tout all the benefits of the facility, but it’s the nurses and staff who will have the one-on-one interaction with your loved one each day. Be sure to ask about the staff-to-resident ratio and the experience level of the staff members. What are their qualifications and how long have they been on the job? 

Another good question to ask is how often staff members come and go. A nursing home with a high staff turnover rate may be a sign of a deeper issue. Plus, for residents, it can be disconcerting to have a new caregiver every few months. 

2. How are the medications stored, sorted and dispensed?

This may seem like an unusual question, but consider how many medications are handed out each day to residents. Plus, nurses have to organize and document medications and know whether a certain medication can be crushed into food, taken on an empty stomach – the list goes on.

Human errors can occur. Be sure to ask about the medication schedule and how medications are tracked and sorted. What checks and balances are in place to avoid medication errors that could be potentially fatal?

Also, ask about have sedatives and anti-psychotic medication are being used. According to a recent Human Rights Watch Report, over-medication is a growing issue in nursing homes. As you observe and interact with residents, note if they seem out of sorts or unusually sedated.

3. Does the nursing home have any violations or poor online reviews?

The government-run Nursing Home Compare website provides information on every Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country. In South Carolina, the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Division of Nursing Homes will investigate complaints against a nursing home or home health agency. Those entities make a good starting point for your research.

Also, do a simple Google search to look for online reviews or individual complaints about a particular nursing home you’re considering. One poor online review may be just one isolated incident, but several unfavorable reviews combined with state violations could be a red flag.

4. How do the current residents look and act?

As you tour any nursing home you might be considering, be sure to pay careful attention to the current residents. Do they look happy, well cared for and engaged? Are they socializing in common areas or isolated in their rooms? What sort of activities does the nursing home provide and are there outings and social events? All of these will contribute greatly to the quality of life of the residents living in a facility.

Asking the right questions, doing your homework on each facility and taking at least one tour will provide you with information to select a nursing home where you feel good knowing your loved one will be happy, healthy and safe.

The best way to prevent nursing home abuse is to select a reputable nursing home facility. However, if the worst occurs and you suspect that your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect at a South Carolina nursing home, consult experienced attorneys like the team at Joye Law Firm. Since 1968, they have helped injured people recover not just the money they are entitled to, but also their lives.

To learn how Joye Law can help you, visit or call 877-936-9707.