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Choosing a Nursing Home


Selecting a nursing home or other long term care facility for yourself or a loved one can be a daunting challenge. There are many different types of facilities, and you want to ensure that your loved one is going to be treated well.

Keep in mind that nursing homes are required not to accept a person as a resident if the nursing home is not able to meet that person’s care needs. Minnesota’s nursing homes range significantly in the number of residents they care for and vary in the level of care that the resident population requires. Regardless of the size of the population or its acuity level, nursing home must have sufficient number of staff on duty, at any given time, who are competent and capable of properly meeting the care needs of its residents.

About Abuse & Neglect


Medicare has a Nursing Home Comparison Five-Star Quality Rating website, which allows you to search nursing homes by a number of geographical limits for ratings based on Health Inspections, Staffing, and Quality Measures. Medicare also has a Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home (which provides information to help individuals, family members, caregivers, and those who assist them find and compare nursing homes, and make informed decisions about nursing home care).

Another resource is the Minnesota Department of Health’s Nursing Home Report Card website, where you can prioritize your search based on the qualities in a facility that are important to you and your loved ones. This database searches the 385 facilities that are certified to participate in government benefits program.

In addition to looking into the nursing homes online, visit each facility that you are considering. During your visit, speak to various members of the staff, including nurses, administrators, dietary staff, activity directors, and social services staff. If possible, talking with residents and their families about their experience with each facility may provide meaningful information for your evaluation. Trust your instincts, and pay attention to the things that are important to you and your loved ones.

Preparing a list of questions can help ensure that all of your questions get answered. Medicare offers a Nursing Home Checklist, and the Minnesota ElderCare Rights Alliance offers helpful Information Sheets on the following topics: Tips on Choosing a Nursing Home and a Nursing Home Search: Worksheet.

You can find out about prior investigations regarding allegations of neglect or other adverse events at a particular nursing home through the Minnesota Department of Health’s website.

About Nursing Home Resources


There are problems in Minnesota’s nursing homes that increase the risk of harm to residents. The Kaiser Family Foundation serve as a non-profit, non-partisan source of facts, information, and analysis for policymakers, the media, the health care community, and the public. Recognized as a leader in health policy and communications, the Kaiser Family Foundation focuses on the major health care issues facing the U.S. The KFF recently published its research about the percentage of of Certified Nursing Facilities in Minnesota with Top Ten Deficiencies:

Percent of Certified Nursing Facilities with Top Ten Deficiencies, 2010
Infection Control 37% 43%
Accident Environment 49% 43%
Food Sanitation 43% 39%
Quality of Care 36% 34%
Professional Standards 5% 30%
Comprehensive Care Plans 37% 28%
Unnecessary Drugs 48% 23%
Clinical Records 4% 21%
Dignity 18% 20%
Housekeeping 18% 20%