Choosing the Right Nursing Home

There are over 1.4 million residents of nursing homes in the United States today. That number will only continue to rise as the “Baby Boomer” generation ages. In 2010 the US Census recorded 13% of the total population as age 65 or older. That number is projected to rise to 20% by 2050.  It important to make the most informed decision if you or a loved one is considering a nursing home or long term care facility.

Find Nursing Homes in Your Area

This first step in choosing a nursing home is commonly overlooked, especially if you are already familiar with a particular nursing home. Not all nursing homes are created equally. Locating all of the nursing homes in your area will allow you to compare the quality of care that each one provides. Medicare’s “Nursing Home Compare” website allows you to quickly and easily locate nursing homes in your area.

Compare the Quality of Nursing Homes

Once you have located the nursing homes in your area, it is time to compare the quality of each and the services that each facility can provide. There are a number of factors to consider when comparing nursing homes. Three major considerations are: 

  • State survey reports and health inspections 
  • Staffing numbers and staff qualifications
  • Quality of life measures in place 

You can also use Medicare’s “Nursing Home Compare” website to look at the overall ratings for nursing homes in your area.  Additionally, US News and World Report releases annual nursing home ratings that you may want to consider.

Visit the Nursing Homes You’re Considering

This is perhaps the most important step in this entire process. Just as you would not buy a home without seeing it first. Likewise, you should not choose a nursing home without first visiting the facility. The first visit should be made by making an appointment. This will allow the nursing home to have someone available to answer all of your questions and tour the facility. You may also wish to use a “Nursing Home Checklist,” such as one provided on Medicare’s “Nursing Home Compare” website. 

After this initial visit, you should make at least one additional visit on a different date and time from your first visit. This visit should not be made by appointment. If the nursing home is hesitant about your visiting spontaneously, it should be a red flag that this is not a facility in which you or your loved one will feel comfortable.

Create and Follow Through with a Plan of Care

All nursing homes are required to create a comprehensive “Plan of Care” for each resident. The purpose of this plan is to ensure that the resident is getting the care they need. It also helps the nursing home understand the goals and wishes of the resident. It is important that the resident and family members (with permission) participate in the creation of this plan.  After creating the plan, family members should request a copy of the plan and review it thoroughly and often.

Have You or a Loved One Been Hurt or Abused in a Nursing Home?

Warren & Griffin represents clients who have been hurt, injured or abused while residing in a nursing home or long-term care facility. If you have any questions about whether you or a family member need representation from an experienced personal injury attorney, do not hesitate to email C. Mark Warren at or call our office at (423) 265-HURT (4878). Warren & Griffin is a well-established local law firm headquartered in Chattanooga, TN and we have experience in getting our clients the compensation that they deserve!