Looking For a Licensed Nursing Home?

licensed nursing homesLearn what you need to know about nursing home licenses, ratings and evaluations.

By far the most important aspect of your search for a nursing home is the safety and welfare of its residents. While on-site salons, friendly staff and inviting décor are all helpful perks, your first concern for your loved one will always be his safety and security. Thankfully, the federal and state governments agree and have set up specific standards for licensed nursing homes across the nation. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association found the nursing home industry to be one of the most highly regulated in the country.

Read on to learn about nursing home licenses, state ratings and nursing home evaluations.

What Are Nursing Home Licenses?

Nursing home licenses are provided to each licensed nursing home and should be clearly posted in the lobby or entryway of each facility. They ensure that the facility is subject to regular inspections and passes safety and health codes, as well as an exhaustive list of other requirements.

Many federal regulations apply only to Medicare—or Medicaid—participating facilities, but since over 90 percent of nursing homes are affiliated with one of those programs, those regulations apply to most facilities. Some states adopt more stringent regulations. For specific state-by-state nursing home license information, see the University of Minnesota’s in-depth guide to state nursing home regulations.

Are There State Ratings for Nursing Homes?

While there is no one method of receiving state ratings for nursing homes, each state is required to maintain a long-term care ombudsman’s office to manage senior living complaints, inspect facilities and inform the public about the condition of its state’s long-term care offerings. Contact the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center for more information.

Who Performs Nursing Home Evaluations?

Each state’s long-term care ombudsman’s office maintains a staff of volunteers who visit institutions regularly and repeatedly to complete nursing home evaluations. State rules for nursing home evaluations vary, but generally, the ombudsperson shows up unannounced at a facility and inspects it on a diverse set of criteria over a multiple-day period, during different hours of the day and night.

In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offer a service called Nursing Home Compare that provides you with up-to-date information on nursing home evaluations, quality ratings, staff data and inspection results.

Find a Licensed Nursing Home

When your loved one enters a nursing home, you are placing a significant amount of trust in that facility. She is in essence placing her very life in the care of its staff. Here at Guide to Nursing Homes, safety is important to us, so we only refer to fully licensed nursing homes. Start a complimentary conversation with a local elder care advisor by calling the toll-free number at the top of the page, and you’ll be on your way to finding the licensed nursing home that will become a true home to your loved one.