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How to Choose a Nursing Home- Part 4

The four steps to take in order to decide which nursing home may be best for you are:

Step 1: Find nursing homes in your area;

Step 2: Compare the quality of the nursing homes you’re considering;

Step 3: Visit the nursing homes you’re interested in or have someone visit for you; and

Step 4: Choose the nursing home that meets your needs.

Step 3: Visit the nursing homes you’re interested in or have someone visit for you.
Before you visit any nursing homes, consider what’s important to you.


  • Is the nursing home close to my family and friends so they can visit often?


  • Is a bed available now, or can I add my name to a waiting list?

Note: Nursing homes don’t have to accept all applications, but they must comply with local, state, and federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination.


  • Is there enough staff to give me the care I need?
  • Will I have the same staff people take care of me day to day or do they change?
  • Does the nursing home post information about the number of nursing staff, including Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)? Are they willing to show me if I ask to see it? (Note: Nursing homes are required to post this information.)
  • How many residents is a CNA assigned to work with during each shift (day and night) and during meals?
  • What type of therapy is available at this facility? Are therapy staff available?
  • Is there a social worker available? Can I meet him or her?

(Note: Nursing homes must provide medically related social services, but if the nursing home has less than 120 beds, it doesn’t have to have a full-time social worker on staff.)

Religious & cultural preference

  • Does the nursing home offer the religious or cultural support I need?
    If not, what type of arrangements will they provide to meet my needs?
  • Do they provide special diet options that my faith practice may require?

Food & Dining

  • Does the nursing home have food service that I would be happy with?
  • Does the nursing home provide a pleasant dining experience?
  • Does the staff help residents eat and drink at mealtimes if help is needed?
  • What types of meals does the nursing home serve? (Note: Ask the nursing home if you can see a menu.)
  • Can I get food and drinks I like at any time? What if I don’t like the food that’s served?
  • Do residents have a choice of food items at each meal? Are there options and substitutes available if I don’t like a particular meal?
  • Can the nursing home provide for my dietary needs?

To be continued….
Aaron E. Futterman, CPA, Esq. is a partner in the law firm of Futterman & Lanza, LLP with offices in Smithtown, NY and clients throughout Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Richmond, New York, Westchester and Rockland Counties. He concentrates his practice to Elder Law, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Applications, Estate Planning, Probate, Estate Taxes, and Estate Administration.

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