Nursing Home Compare Tips

Following are key questions we encourage you to answer to help you evaluate and choose a nursing home or care center that provides a good fit for you.

At a Glance

  • Is there current availability and if not, when do they anticipate an opening?
  • Are specialty services available, and if so, are they offered in separate areas of the building (i.e. memory care, rehabilitation, hospice, ventilator, etc), or blended in one area?
  • Is the nursing home conveniently located for friends and family to visit?
  • Do residents appear to be clean, appropriately dressed for the season/ time of day, and well-groomed?
  • Does the building appear to be clean and well-kept?
  • Are the noise levels in the common areas comfortable?
  • Is smoking allowed in the building?
  • Are pets allowed in the building?
  • Are furnishings comfortable and attractive?
  • Is the temperature of the building comfortable for the residents?
  • Is the building more residential or institutional in appearance and feel?
  • Are there private, quiet areas where residents can visit with friends and family?


  • Do the relationships between the staff members and residents appear to be warm, polite, respectful and engaging?
  • Do staff members respect residents’ privacy?
  • Are continuing education programs provided for all staff members?
  • Does the nursing home conduct background checks on all staff?
  • Does the tour guide (admissions person) know the names of residents throughout the building?
  • Is the nursing home staffed with licensed nursing staff 24 hours per day?
  • Does the same team of nursing assistants (CNAs) work with the same residents on a consistent basis?
  • Is there a full-time social worker on staff?
  • Are there doctors who visit the care center regularly?

Residents’ Rooms

  • Is furniture provided in the rooms, and what items may be brought in by residents?
  • Is there adequate storage space (closet and drawers) for each resident?
  • Are the rooms shared or private?
  • If the room is shared, how many people share the bathroom?
  • Do residents have access to a personal telephone and television?
  • Are computers available to residents?
  • Can residents have a choice of roommates?

Care and Services

  • Do residents receive preventive care, such as yearly flu shots?
  • Can residents continue to see their personal doctors?
  • Does the nursing home have an arrangement with a nearby hospital for emergencies?
  • Are care plan meetings held with residents and family members at convenient times for everyone?
  • How was the most recent state inspection report and have they corrected any deficiencies that they may have incurred?


  • How well do staff know the residents?
  • How do they empower residents to be engaged in pursuits that are meaningful to them?
  • Are residents offered choices for meal items?
  • Are nutritious snacks and beverages available upon request?
  • If assistance is needed, will staff help residents with eating and drinking at mealtimes?
  • Are a variety of activity options available to residents?
  • Are there outdoor areas for resident use and staff to assist them to go outside?
  • Are there scheduled activities outings?
  • Is there an active volunteer program in the nursing home?
  • Does this nursing home have spiritual services that will meet your individual needs?
  • Can you talk with other residents and family members to get their insights?
  • Can you spend a day to observe life at the nursing home?