This elderly person has a gift from a loved one who wonders, how will I know if a nursing home is safe?

How Will I Know If A Nursing Home Is Safe?

When it’s time to find a long-term care facility or assisted living facility such as a nursing home, you want to be sure that it’s a safe and nurturing location for yourself or your loved one. In this blog, we’ll cover some best practices in searching for a good nursing home, as well as what to look for and avoid.


Location, hours, and costs are some of the first things to consider. You need to pick a facility that family members can reasonably and regularly visit, if possible. Long-term care facilities can also be very expensive.  Begin to develop a checklist of questions to ask in your initial calls or emails to different facilities so you can compare and contrast different ones. This is a good time to rely on your network of family and friends as well—ask for recommendations from people you trust. Block off time to make calls when you aren’t distracted.


The focus and type of care you seek in a nursing home depends a lot on the person going into the care facility and their specific medical and emotional needs. You need to get comfortable asking lots of questions to understand the level and scope of care at different facilities, as well as their skill level and experience in caring for someone with the needs of your loved one.

If the patient needs help recovering from an injury or illness, for example, you would want to ask about the active rehabilitation services offered, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy. If finding a home that has a strong religious focus is important to you and your loved one, there are facilities that weave together a blend of caring services with a religious connection. Or perhaps you’re at the point where you need to seek hospice care, but want to ensure your loved one is cared for as completely and compassionately as possible. Form your questions around these services and your needs.


Medicare offers a good, brochure-style guide that covers the rights of a patient in a long-term care facility, as well as how best to find and pay for a nursing home. It’s important to understand what qualities and services are desired, but also important to do your own research so that you’re not placing your loved one into a facility with a dangerous or unsettling history of patient neglect and/or nursing home abuse. And research, research, research. Many places have online reviews, or you’ll hear through word of mouth about which facilities are high-quality as well as others that you definitely want to avoid. If you find a mix of reviews, be prepared to ask the facility’s representatives about the negative comments you’ve heard or read. Avoid places that don’t seem receptive to questions.


An in-person visit is crucial to properly evaluating any facility. You may want to save some of your questions for this meeting, so that you can gauge reactions and responses from the facility’s representative.  Evaluate what you see on both the outside and inside of the facility. Is it clean and well-kept? Does the staff appear to be compassionately helping and interacting with the residents? States are required to regularly inspect nursing homes that receive government funding (such as Medicaid).

Facilities that cannot pass inspections lose or are denied certification. Ask to review the latest inspection report and to see their certification. Medicare also offers a great checklist you can take with you for this kind of visit. Address concerns about neglect and abuse during this visit. It’s important that you feel confident about your choice and have peace of mind about placing a loved one under their care.


It’s important in every state to take steps to ensure the nursing home you select for a loved one is safe and effective. Unfortunately, Illinois is one of the top states for number of nursing home violations, which have included sexual and/or physical abuse, as well as cases involving neglect.

If your family member or loved one has been a resident in a nursing home where you believe there has been abuse or neglect, the law office of Jeff Green is here to help. We have a deep bench of experience in handling these very personal claims, and we understand how emotionally upsetting these cases may be. Contact us today for a free consultation.