Select the right nursing home in Massachusetts for your loved one!

A Guide to Selecting the Right Nursing Home for your loved one

Select the Right Nursing Home: Start by Asking a Lot of Questions.

Setting out to select a nursing home for your loved one can seem an overwhelming task.

Here is a guide to help you.

Start by visiting the websites of those in the geographic area you are focusing on. Call to ask some of the key questions listed below so you can reduce the list to three or four. You’ll know which facilities you want to know more about by the way your questions are addressed, the willingness of the staff to help, and whether you are invited to visit the facility.

Some of these questions can be answered on the facility’s website; others you may want to ask on the phone or wait until you visit.

Are rooms/beds available or is there a waiting list?
Is the facility Medicare- and Medicaid-certified?
What levels of care are provided?
With what hospital does the facility have an emergency care arrangement?

Questions about the staff
Does the facility perform background checks on staff members as part of the hiring process?
Is there a continuing education program in place for the staff?
Is there a registered nurse (RN) other than the Director of Nursing on duty in the facility at all times?
Does the same team of staff members (nurses and nursing assistants) work with a given resident 4-5 days per week?
What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
Does the facility have a full-time social worker?
Does the facility have a physician on staff? Is he or she at the facility daily? Is he or she on call?
Are residents allowed to see their personal physicians?
Is there a professional staff member on hand 24/7?

Questions regarding personal issues
Are residents allowed to have personal furniture and/or belongings in their rooms?
Does each resident have separate personal storage space in his or her room?
Does the facility have policies and procedures to protect residents’ property?

Questions about meal service
Are meals prepared under the direction of a certified nutritionist?
Do residents have a choice of foods at each meal?
Are nutritious snacks available on request?
Are staff members available to assist residents at mealtimes if needed?

Things to look for when visiting
Are the residents well-groomed and dressed properly for the time of day, season, and weather?
Does the facility have any strong or unpleasant odors?
Is the facility clean and well-maintained?
Is the temperature in the facility comfortable?
Is the facility well-lit?
Is the facility excessively noisy?
Are the furnishings sturdy, clean, and well-maintained?
Does the facility have private areas that are quiet where residents can meet with visitors?
Does each resident’s room have a window?
Do residents have their own telephone and television?

Observations of staff
Do staff members appear to be polite, respectful, and friendly toward residents?
Do the residents appear to be friendly toward the staff?
Do all staff members wear nametags?
Do staff members knock and ask permission before entering resident rooms?
Questions about activities
Are activities available to all residents, including those who are unable to leave their rooms?
Does the facility have outdoor areas accessible to residents and staff members to help those who want to go outside?
Does the facility have a volunteer program?

Your ideal visit should be late morning, mid-day or early afternoon so that you can observe residents while they are involved in meantime or social or recreational activities. Be sure to ask to see any area that may not be included on your tour. When you visit with your loved one, ask to have lunch or dinner with the residents so you can see and taste for yourselves the variety and quality of the meal and food service.


Don’t know where to start? Contact any of the Aurum Network of Care Providers in your area of Massachusetts today!



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