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How to Choose a Nursing Home Center

Finding a nursing home center for a loved one can be a difficult task. Here’s how to pick the right one.


  • Step 1: Visit U.S. Administration on Aging office Go to to find a local U.S. Administration on Aging office. Contact them for information on long-term care facilities in your area.
  • Step 2: Ask around Ask a doctor, family members, and friends for recommendations. Ask a hospital’s discharge planner or social worker for a list of nursing homes.
  • Step 3: Visit Medicare web site Visit the Medicare website and use the Nursing Home Compare tool, which offers a one- to five-star rating system for over 17,000 Medicaid and Medicare-certified nursing homes in the U.S. Their criteria include health inspection and fire safety inspection reports as well as nursing home staffing data.
  • Step 4: Print Nursing Home Checklist Print a copy of the Nursing Home Checklist -- a list of questions to ask nursing home administrators -- from Take it with you when visiting facilities.
  • TIP: Add your own questions and concerns to the checklist.
  • Step 5: Visit facilities Schedule visits to nursing home centers located near family or friends. Ask plenty of questions.
  • Step 6: Make unscheduled visits Make unscheduled visits to facilities to double-check first impressions. Also check your state’s health department for information on specific nursing homes, including inspection reports and any complaints.
  • Step 7: Get written statements from staff Get written statements from each nursing home regarding services, fees, fee schedules, and extra charges.
  • Step 8: Select nursing home center Select a nursing home center for your loved one, and visit them often!
  • FACT: The average annual cost of a private room in a nursing home in the U.S. is more than $70,000.

You Will Need

  • Internet access
  • Recommendations
  • Printer
  • Persistence

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