You have been avoiding the conversation, but maybe now is the time to start the discussion. Your loved one has reached the stage in life where it is time to consider moving them into a skilled care nursing facility for their care and safety. What do you do now? Where do you start? What facility meets your elder’s needs and your needs as their caregiver?

Below we outline things to consider when selecting a skilled care nursing facility.

  1. Make a Checklist

Consider what you want, what is important to you and what is important for your loved one – whether it be the types of meals, physical therapy access, a religious connection, hospice care or memory care services for dementia. While location may be a consideration, location should be a lower priority to ensure you find the very best option for your loved one. Be sure to consider your loved one’s budget and what is affordable. Consider whether the facility accepts Medicaid after a resident’s funds are exhausted.

Sit down with your loved one and make a list of your requirements and preferences. Split your list up into three categories:

      • Non-Negotiable
      • Flexible
      • Nice to Have

 2. Get Referrals

Check with healthcare providers about which nursing homes they would recommend. Speak with friends, relatives or trusted confidants to find out what places they suggest. Be sure to have plenty of options before proceeding to the next steps.

  1. Do Your Research

Go online and look at each facility’s website. Read online reviews and testimonials. Compare the amenities listed with your checklist. Next, look at the costs and the different options for long-term care insurance in covering the costs. Many times websites will include a virtual tour, which can be helpful.

  1. Schedule On-Site Visits(

Call the facilities from your list that meet the requirements according to your needs checklist. Make plans to meet with the director and the nursing director. This Medicare Nursing Home Checklist can come in handy for what to ask and look for when visiting. It includes:

  • Medicare and Medicaid certification
  • Handicap access
  • Residents who look well cared for
  • Warm interaction between staff and residents

Do not be afraid to ask questions. If the online research doesn’t immediately answer something on your checklist, ask for clarifications.

  1. Revisit the facility.

Make a second visit without calling ahead. Maybe visit on a different day of the week or time to meet various staff members. Consider stopping by during mealtime to see the food and foodservice process, though current COVID restrictions may prevent you from being able to enjoy a meal in the dining room.

Suppose not much has changed between your planned a visit and your surprise visit. In that case, this is a good indication that you received accurate information.

  1. Trust Your Instincts

What does your gut tell you after making your checklist, visiting facilities and weighing your budgeting options? Don’t make a rushed decision if you don’t have to. Instead, sleep on it, and when you have found the right place, you will know.

Hillcrest Health Services has skilled care locations in the Omaha metro (Bellevue, Papillion and Millard) and Lincoln areas for you to choose from, depending on what is most important to you. Visit our website and see which care facility may work best for you and your loved one. Then, take a virtual tour of our facilities. Included on our site is a comprehensive list of amenities for each location.

Contact Hillcrest today to discuss your options and to schedule a tour. Whatever your need, Hillcrest Health Services is here to help.