Make of list of things you want in a nursing home whether you’re researching for yourself or a loved one.

Picking the right nursing home

Choosing a nursing home to look after yourself or a loved one is something that should be given a lot of thought.

There is lots of information out there which will make picking a nursing home a little easier thanks the HSE which has a myriad of information about your options as well as the Health Information and Quality Authority which inspects all nursing homes from HSE to privately to voluntarily run.

The HSE says it is helpful to plan ahead, consider all your longterm options, and make good financial plans early.

A HSE guide to choosing a private nursing home says: “Planning ahead gives you and your family more control. Before you get started you may have other long term care options like community services or home care depending on your resources and needs.

“Before choosing a nursing home, see if one of these other choices might be better for you or if they might help after a short nursing home stay.”

The guide adds: “Helping another person choose a nursing home or make other long term care choices can be difficult. Your support is important and can help your loved one adjust to getting a new service or living in a new setting like a nursing home. Be sure to include the person you are helping when making decisions whenever possible.”

The HSE also has some steps to help you choose a nursing home.

Step one

Check the HSE and HIQA websites for a list of nursing homes in your areas. Ask people you trust if they have had personal experience with nursing homes, they may be able to recommend one for you.

Step two

Compare the quality of nursing homes you are considering. Look at the inspection reports. These reports should not be used in isolation as they reflect a moment in time but they can assist you in making an informed decision.

Step three

Visits to nursing homes will be restricted until the pandemic is over but when it's safe, visit the nursing homes you are interested in or have someone visit for you. A visit gives you the chance to see the residents, staff and nursing home setting.

The HSE guide advises: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions, ask the staff to explain anything you see and hear that you don’t understand, ask who to call if you have further questions. Visit the nursing home a second time on a different day and at a different time then when you first visited the nursing home. Try to visit during late morning or midday.”

You may need to make an appointment in advance prior to your initial visit when restrictions have eased. Take a copy of the nursing home checklist at with you as this will give you a general idea of the quality of care in a nursing home.