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    What Should I Look for in a Nursing Home?

    When you’re researching and visiting one, take this checklist with you. It can help you and your loved ones remember some important questions to ask the staff -- and yourself.


    • Does the nursing home offer the level of care you need, such as skilled care?
    • Does it meet local or state licensing requirements? Does the administrator have an up-to-date license?
    • What are the visiting hours?
    • What’s the policy on insurance and personal property?
    • How does the staff respond to a medical emergency?

    Admission and Assessment

    • Is there a waiting period to get in?
    • What are the admission requirements?
    • Is there a written care plan for each resident?
    • How does the staff decide the kind of care a resident needs? How often do they assess residents?

    Fees and Financing

    • Have fees gone up a lot in the past few years?
    • Is the fee structure easy to understand?
    • What are the billing, payment, and credit policies?
    • Are there different costs for different levels or types of service?
    • What services are covered in the quoted fee, and what services are extra?
    • What financing options does the center accept (such as Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, and others)?
    • When can the facility terminate a contract? What’s the refund policy?


    • Do the nurses, social workers, and administrators have experience working with people with MS?
    • Is the staff willing to work with all of your doctors to make a plan for your care? Often nursing homes assign people to a general doctor who is responsible for their medical care. It’s very important for him to work well with the rest of your care team.
    • Are staff members available to meet scheduled and unscheduled needs?
    • Do staff members seem to enjoy working with the residents?
    • Do they treat residents as individuals? Do they call them by their first names?
    • Are there people to help residents who have trouble with memory, confusion, or judgment?


    • Do residents seem happy and comfortable? Are they clean and dressed well?
    • What do residents, other visitors, and volunteers say about the nursing home?
    • Are the rights of residents clearly posted?

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