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Compliments of
State Representative
Anita Astorino Kulik
45th Legislative District

Coraopolis Office:
1350 5th Ave.
Coraopolis, PA 15108
(412) 264-4260
Fax: (412) 269-2767


What to Look For

Making a decision about a nursing home in which to place a loved one or yourself is not easy.

Often, the decision must be made in a matter of days. Even when one knows well in advance, there are still many aspects that should be considered in picking the right home.

I hope these suggested questions help make your decisions easier.

Tour the Homes
Spend additional time in the home beyond your initial visit, even if it involves just sitting in a public area where residents have access. You might want to drop by at a couple different times of the day. Talk to residents and observe the actions and attitude of the staff.

  • Is it clean?
  • Does it smell clean?
  • What are the visiting hours?
  • Do hallways, stairs and bathrooms have grab bars?
  • Does the home / rooms have a colorful, pleasant, home-like atmosphere?
  • Are the residents clean and properly groomed?
  • Is there an active resident's council?
  • Do staff members knock before entering residents' rooms and address them by name?
  • Are indoor and outdoor common areas available for residents to visit with guests?
  • Do residents appear generally upbeat?

The major concern of most people about to enter a nursing home is how they will finance the care.

Before you begin looking at homes, account for all possible sources of funding and project those sources well into the future. Include private insurance, personal financial resources and eligibility for Medicaid or Medicare.

Questions to Ask

  • Bed capacity?
  • How many residents is the home currently caring for?
  • Facility owner?
  • Managing company?
  • Current license status?
  • Has the facility had licensing problems in the last five years?
  • Are specific therapies and services the resident will require available?
  • Is the home conveniently located for family and friends to visit?
  • Is the home affiliated with a religion?
  • Is the home a Medicare-certified participant?
  • Is the home a Medicaid-certified (Medical Assistance) participant?
  • How much will you or your loved one be required to pay over specific periods, such as weekly or monthly?
  • Will they let you examine recent menus?
  • Registered dietician on staff?
  • Can residents choose the activities they wish to participate in?
  • Does the facility have an emergency evacuation plan and hold regular fire drills?
  • Name and telephone number of a local advocate for nursing home residents and families?
  • Ask for a written copy of each home's policies, including admission, transfer and discharge agreements.
  • Also ask each home if there are items or services you want that are not included in the payment rate and what they cost.
  • Lastly, ask around among your family and friends about what they have heard about the nursing homes you are considering. Clergy and medical professionals might also provide you with insight.
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