Choosing the Right Nursing Facility for Your Elderly Family Member

2876982156_fba10d6263With an estimated 300,000 California residents being cared for in nursing facilities, every day families across the state are faced with choosing the right facility to care for their loved one. And with 18% of all substantiated complaints against nursing homes related to mistreatment or abuse of residents by staff, making sure your loved one doesn’t become a victim of elder abuse is a real concern. The following includes some tips that can help guide your decision in selecting the best nursing home facility for your loved one.

Research the Facility

Choosing the right nursing home starts with research. The group California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform has an online nursing home guide that allows you search for California nursing homes by city, county and specific populations served.

You should also check with the local long-term care ombudsman and District Office of Licensing and Certification. You’ll be able to obtain information about complaints made against the facility and any violations or deficiencies.


The best thing for your elderly loved one is to be near family and friends who can support and visit them. So even the highest-rated nursing home is a bad fit if it means moving your loved one hours away from the people she would want to see on a regular basis. So consider choosing a facility close to whichever family member will visit the most, or who will be called on in an emergency.

Tour the Entire Facility

If staff show you only one wing of the facility, ask for a complete tour. If they do have a problem with the request, it could be a sign that the rest of the facilities are inadequate. Then make a second, unannounced visit. If the facility was putting on a good front for the official tour, you should notice a difference.

Take Note of Resident Appearance and Mood

Do residents appear clean and happy, especially those who are unable to care for themselves? Does the facility offer activities for residents and do they appear engaged? Are there comfortable chairs for residents in common areas, or are they confined to their bedrooms?

Staff to Resident Ratio

A 2005 study released by California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development found that one-fifth of state nursing facilities had inadequate staff levels. The lower the ratio, the better care your loved one will receive.

Talk to Families of Residents

If the nursing facility provides you with family references, talk to them. But seek out the opinion of families not hand-picked by the facility. You may get a more honest response.


Will you be paying out-of-pocket? Does your loved one have Medi-Cal or Medicare? Are you trying to use a long-term care insurance policy? With the exception of out-of-pocket payment, each program has rules governing payment for nursing home care. Make sure you check with the particular program to ensure care is covered.

Walnut Creek Elder Abuse Attorneys 

Every day people across the Bay Area entrust the care of their elderly loved ones to nursing homes. Most nursing home facilities are safe, comfortable places staffed with attentive, caring individuals. But unfortunately, there are facilities and staff that prey on the vulnerability of those in their care. If you believe your loved one has been the victim of elder abuse by nursing home staff, the Walnut Creek elder abuse attorneys at Appel Law Firm LLP can help. Our attorneys have a combined 60+ years’ experience handling case of elder abuse, whether physical, emotional or financial. We will always treat you and your loved one with the compassion and dignity you deserve. Contact our office today toll free at 888-527-0674, or complete our convenient web form, to schedule a consultation.


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