Top 5 Tips for Choosing the Best Nursing Home

They go by many names: Nursing homes; extended care facilities; rehabilitation centers; skilled nursing facilities; assisted living facilities; long-term care facilities; senior homes; and so on, but don’t get bogged down with the technical names. What’s most important to understand is what your loved one needs most from a facility- and then to find the best facility that will meet those needs.

We’ve put together a simple list of tips to help guide you through this exploratory process. And, we’re sharing the Women’s Choice Award, ‘America’s Best Extended Care’ facilities, which is a list of facilities across America that have already been vetted for you- so you can spend less time doing the guesswork.

Here are the top 5 tips to consider when searching for and selecting a nursing home:

  1. Determine what you can afford. Review your loved one’s current financial situation. If he or she is moving into a facility from a current living situation, you can utilize the funds for food shopping, rent, and home expenses like utilities, to attribute to money for the nursing home. See what assets can be converted into income (selling a home, furniture, etc.). Also take into account monthly expenses such as haircuts, hobbies, and toiletries that your loved one will still require (and desire!) to live a fulfilled life.
  1. Determine what type of care your loved one requires. Does he or she require a small amount of help with daily activities, or an extensive amount of help such as getting in and out of bed, bathing, dressing, eating, and so forth? Does your loved one need a temporary rehabilitation center or a permanent living arrangement? Determining these needs will help you in your search for a facility.
  1. Visit the facility, ask questions and assess the environment. The AARP put together a list of 10 questions to consider before moving your loved one into a facility. These questions are meant to detect signs of improper care. They include:
  1. How does the food look and taste? (i.e. Is the meal palatable and visually appealing?)
  2. What sounds do you hear? (i.e. Are patients being called by name?)
  3. What does it smell like? (i.e. Does it reek of stale urine?)
  4. Is the staff overworked? (i.e. What is the staffing ratio?)
  5. How do residents spend their afternoons? (i.e. Is there a calendar of daily activities?)
  6. How does the staff interact with each other? (i.e. Are they rude? Are they playing music for themselves or for their patients? Are they chatting amongst themselves or spending time with patients?)
  7. Do you see bruising?
  8. How does the home handle a fall?
  9. Are there unexplained bedsores?
  10. Are personal care needs being met? (i.e. Do they put a limit on how many diaper changes are done in a day for incontinent patients?)
  1. Be an advocate for your loved one. No matter how great a facility appears, both nursing home and rehabilitation patients need an advocate who will check in on him or her and speak up for them to ensure they’re receiving the best care. ‘The squeaky wheel gets the oil’ has a lot of merit in these situations.
  1. Start with the Women’s Choice Award, ‘America’s Best for Extended Care’ facilities. These facilities were already vetted for you, and only the facilities that earned a four and five star rating through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), made this exclusive list. To determine the 4 and 5 star ratings, the following criteria were considered: general staffing; registered nurse staffing; quality ratings and; inspection survey ratings. In fact, out of over 15,000 extended care facilities, only 900 were awarded. Facilities that made the list also had to have Medicare certification, full sprinkler systems, and no recent history of penalties or fines.

Michael Gross, Corporate Director of Marketing and Business Development states, “At Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, we have always endeavored to put our residents first. It’s why we spare no effort or expense to provide the most robust post-acute rehabilitation program in the state and why we have consistently achieved 5 stars in all categories. We are proud to be known as the Place Where Caring Comes to Life!” Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers is a proud Women’s Choice Award, America’s Best Extended Care facility. They are passionate about providing the best care for their residents.

Here is a list of other award-winning facilities, passionate about providing great care:

Atlantic Rehabilitation Morristown NJ
Bancroft Convalescent Hospital San Leandro CA
Family Health & Rehab Wichita KS
Fellowship Community Whitehall PA
Hughes Health & Rehabilitation West Hartford CT
Providence Health Care, Inc Saint Mary Of The Woods IN
Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Dover NJ
Winchester Rehabilitation and Nursing Center Winchester MA
Woburn Rehabilitation and Nursing Center Woburn MA
United Hebrew New Rochelle NY
Van Dyk Health Care Ridgewood NJ


While there is a tremendous responsibility that comes with choosing the best nursing home or rehabilitation center for your loved one, doing your research, assessing the facility, and asking the right questions will help you make an informed decision.