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5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Nursing Home

Preventing nursing home abuse and neglect takes diligence from family members, who will need to check on their loved ones regularly. Preventing nursing home abuse and neglect starts before you even put your family member in managed care. By being mindful when picking a facility, you can reduce the risk that your family member will be mistreated. Here are five things you should consider when choosing a nursing home.

Location and Size

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a nursing home is the location. In ideal situations, it’s best to have the nursing home as near to the family as possible. Proximity makes visits easier. Frequent visits can be a ward against elder abuse and neglect because staff will pay more attention to residents that receive regular visitors. The location of the facility is also tied to its atmosphere. Some nursing homes are located in areas that have serene locales and places for residents to go outside. You should keep the personality of your family member in mind when choosing a nursing home. Some people would enjoy being in a large nursing home with many people to socialize and a roommate to keep them company. For others, they would prefer a smaller and more private facility. There are many good nursing homes to choose from, so take the time to select the one your family member will enjoy the most.

Services and Amenities

Nursing homes can provide care for residents who need 24-hour supervision for health and safety reasons. Residents that require care beyond the usual may need to find a facility that meets their specialized needs. Beyond these medical services, facilities offer services and activities to improve the quality of life of their residents. These activities can include classes, performances, and more. Research has shown that these services can help residents enjoy living in a nursing home.

Another thing to keep in mind is the meal services. The way food is provided to nursing home residents varies significantly by the facility. When visiting a nursing home for the first time, pay attention to the menu. When making your selection, look for facilities that have multiple healthy options meals and snacks, as well as some flexibility to include your family members favorite foods.  


The staff of a nursing home is your frontline defense against abuse and neglect. The team ensures the health and safety of your family member when you can’t be there, so you want staff members who are experienced, professional, and kind. Ask questions and observe the staff when you make your initial visit. The staff members you see should have a good rapport with the residents they interact with, and demonstrate a friendly, warm and respectful relationship. For example, you can see if you see them knocking before entering a room and if they speak respectfully to the other residents. You should also talk to the management to learn how they promote continuing education and higher standards among their team. The best facilities have a plan of action to help their staff continually improve.

Choices and Independence

Moving to a nursing home requires many adjustments from the resident, who loses some of their freedom and independence for health reasons. Some nursing homes make the transition easier by giving residents an active say in the daily decisions, to the extent possible. We mentioned meal choices and activities, which are examples of opportunities that promote independence. Similar choices, like when to go to bed and what TV shows to watch, can make residents feel more comfortable.  

State Inspection Records

No matter how nice a facility looks when you go to visit, make sure you check the state inspection records. While these inspections and incident reports are far from perfect, they are a good starting point for doing background research on a nursing home.

For more information that can help you choose a nursing home, download this helpful kit from the Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. We have been fighting nursing home abuse and neglect for more than 25 years, and we used that experience to make a guide that can help keep your family member safe. If you have any questions about nursing home abuse and neglect, send us a message online to schedule a free consultation.

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Need Help? Contact Steve.

Steve Watrel, P.A. is the only accident and injury law attorney that has been personally fighting against nursing home abuse for 30 years in Jacksonville. Contact us and see the difference today.

136 East Bay St.
Jacksonville, FL 32202
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