Choosing a Nursing Home

U.S. News & World Report Best Nursing Homes

Many Ohioans face the difficult decision of putting someone they love into a nursing home. If you have never been faced with this decision before you may find it very challenging to choose an appropriate nursing home. One of the best places to start is the Medicare website. This is the Nursing Home Compare portion of the Medicare website. Using this website, you can search for nursing homes by name or you can search for nursing homes by geographic region. You can put in your address and see all the nursing homes within a specific distance from your home. Most people choose a nursing home based on proximity as they want to be able to visit their loved one as often as possible.

Nursing Homes Are Rated

Once you have identified a number of potential nursing homes using the website, you can use the website to research those nursing homes. Nursing homes are rated on a star system. Five stars being the best, one star being the worst. There is an overall rating for the nursing home, a rating based on health inspections, a rating based on staffing, and a rating based on quality ratings.

Beware of “Special Focus Facilities” in Ohio

Some nursing homes are designated as Special Focus Facilities. Be especially wary of these nursing homes. They are the worst nursing homes in your state and among the worst nursing homes in the country. They are nursing homes that have been designated by Medicare as having consistent problems.

How Nursing Homes Are Overseen in Ohio

Every nursing home in the country is surveyed approximately once a year by their state’s Department of Health. Nursing homes are also surveyed in response to complaints. When a nursing home is surveyed in Ohio, employees with the Ohio Department of Health go into that nursing and inspect that nursing home. If they find improper care, the nursing home is cited. The Department of Health generates what is called a statement of deficiencies. In response to that statement of deficiencies, the nursing home is required to create a plan of correction which is how they plan to deal with the statement of deficiencies.

Review Nursing Home Complaints, Incidents, and Deficiencies

Under the website, there is a tab for inspections and complaints of the nursing home. And you can review different complaints and incidents and deficiencies for that particular nursing home.

In addition to the website one very important website that you can use to investigate the nursing homes that you are considering for your loved one is From the home page, choose the state that you are looking for and thereafter you can look at different nursing homes by name. I do not believe that there is a way to search nursing homes geographically within each state. But you can check each nursing home by name and see what their rating is based on the surveys.

Look for Red Flags When Visiting Nursing Homes

One of the most important things to do when choosing a nursing home is to visit the nursing home. Call and make an appointment. Try to meet with the Administrator and/or the Director of Nursing. Ask questions.

During your visit, see what the nursing home smells like. Many nursing homes have a popcorn machine in the lobby. The reason for that is to cover up bad smells like urine and feces.

See if you see staff around. See if you see residents being left unattended.

When meeting with the nursing home Administrator and/or Director of Nursing ask to see their most recent surveys. Ask if they have been cited recently.

Find out how many residents in the nursing home. Find out what the staff-to-resident ratio is.

Get a tour of the individual rooms.

By using the resources listed above and by visiting a number of different nursing homes and asking questions, it should greatly increase your chances of selecting a good nursing home for your loved one.

If you have any further questions call The Dickson Firm, L.L.C. at 1 (800) OHIO - LAW and ask to speak with Ohio Nursing Home Attorney Blake Dickson. We would be happy to talk with you and answer any questions you may have.

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