Choosing a Nursing Home

What Patients and Caregivers Should Do

Compare nursing homes

The Medicare Nursing Home Compare site:

  • Allows you to find nursing homes anywhere in the country.
  • Maps federally-certified nursing homes within a geographical area.
  • Provides national five-star quality information which is based on: health inspections, staffing report, Medicare participation, number of certified beds and type of ownership.
  • Allows for a more detailed comparison of up to three selected nursing homes at a time.


Schedule a visit to the facility. Ask for a copy of its brochure, admissions policies, and the resident's bill of rights. Prepare a list of talking points. sample When you are there try to:

  • Meet the residents and talk with them about their experiences.
  • Meet the staff and observe their interactions with the residents.
  • Meet the admissions representative or nursing home administrator.
  • Talk to the facility's ombudsman from the Department of Elderly Affairs (401-462-3000).

Make your choice

  • Narrow your choices and re-visit the facilities under consideration at a different time of day, if possible.
  • Contact the admissions staff for advice about the admissions process.
  • Meet with the administrator and key staff members to discuss specific concerns you may have about care needs and personal preferences.
  • Ask to participate in care planning decisions.
  • Be sure to visit often and remain involved in your loved one's ongoing care.