4. Dining and Food. Look, listen, smell and
taste to observe what is going on in the dining
room and kitchen. Tour the nursing home during
meal time and ask if you may dine. Look for
• Is the food attractively served?
• Is the food served at an appropriate temperature?
• Is the food tasty?
• Do residents seem to like the food being
• Is there enough staff to assist patients who
need help eating?
Look at and listen to how the staff interacts
with the patients during meal time. Ask if you
can see the kitchen and talk to the dietitian.
Food is one of the most important aspects of
patient satisfaction. Look for a nursing home
that treats this standard very seriously.
5. Care. Care standards should be evaluated
as it relates to both skilled care services and
custodial care services.
• Skilled Care Services
Medicare has a tool to help determine
whether a nursing home is providing quality
care to patients. The Medicare Nursing Home
Compare website (medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare)
contains quality of resident
care and staffing information for more than
15,000 nursing homes around the country.
Here are a few ways you can evaluate the
facility’s standards for skilled care while you
are on your tour.
• Does the nursing home have a current license?
• Does the administrator have a current license?
• Is the nursing home Medicare-Medicaid
• What is the RN/LPN to patient ratio for day,
evening and night?
• What is the nurse aide to patient ratio for day,
evening and night?
• Are there onsite therapy programs where
patients are actually receiving therapy?
• Does the nursing home have special programs
where staff have been specifically trained to
take care of such care issues as Alzheimer’s
or wound care?
• Do you see any evidence of such programs
and care taking place?
• Custodial Care Services
Custodial care can be determined by evaluating
the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) of
those who need care. It is easier to evaluate
whether the care is being administered and administered
properly because we, as lay people,
can see, hear and smell the results or the lack
of results of the caregiver’s actions in personal
More on Nursing Homes:
• Need to Find a Facility?
• Printable Quick Tips List
• Printable “Questions to Ask” Worksheet
• Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare Rating
Related Issues: • Legal & Financial Issues
• How to Pay For Care?