For those searching for a nursing home, the type of care offered as well as a number of personal and practical concerns will likely weigh in making the final choice.
The most important concern in selecting a nursing home is whether it can provide the specific medical care an individual requires. Consult an attending doctor, primary care physician, or other health care provider familiar with the individual to help assess particular health care needs — and ask specifically about the types of facilities and services recommended to meet them.
In addition to conferring with medical providers, talk with and observe the potential resident to assess whether he or she needs:
- Regular assistance with daily activities, such as eating, walking, getting to the toilet, or exercising
- Medical supervision and health monitoring, such as reminders or assistance in taking medications, or checking blood pressure and food or liquid intake
- Pharmacy services
- Dietary monitoring and help with regular meals and snacks
- Organized social and recreational activities, both individual and group, to provide mental stimulation
- Speech, physical, or occupational therapy
- Full-time skilled nursing and supportive care
Congregate Living Health Facilities generally provide less-intensive care than hospitals but more specialized care than nursing homes.The law specifies that CLHFs must provide services for people who:
- Are mentally alert but physically disabled
- Are dependent on technology, such as a ventilator
- Have a terminal or life-threatening illness
- Are catastrophically and severely disabled, such as those with spinal cord injuries
Personal likes and dislikes can also be important in determining the best place for care.
Location. Location may or may not be a concern for those seeking a nursing home. Discuss the issue of relocating with the potential resident, listen to the responses — and honor preferences if possible. For many nursing home residents, for example, having regular contact with family and friends in a familiar community is the greatest single concern. Others, because of dementia or chronic illness, may need to live close to the family members or friends who will oversee their care, whether or not they have a community of other contacts there.
CalQualityCare.org offers facility searches by zip code, city, and provider name.
Resident characteristics. Many people find it more comforting to be among others who are similar — in age, background, and medical condition — while receiving nursing care.
If this is an important concern, check the information about residents provided in the facility profiles on CalQualityCare.org. It includes a breakdown of the demographics of current residents — including age, gender, race and ethnicity, and needs for assistance or special care.
You can also use the site’s “advanced search” function to locate facilities providing special services such as rehabilitation and hospice as well as specialized care for those with psychiatric conditions, HIV/AIDS, or Alzheimer’s disease.