Admitting a Loved One to a Nursing Home

Nursing Home Admittance:

Once you have thoroughly researched potential nursing homes and selected a facility, the next step is admittance. There are three primary ways to get admitted to a nursing home:

The discharge planner or Social Service Department can act as the liaison between the hospital and the nursing home facility. The discharge planner will meet with the patient and/or the family in order to discuss the needs of the patient and continuing care options. The Social Service Department is available to assist in implementing placement procedures. Make sure that you do some research on your own as well, so that you can make a well informed decision.

After using our Investigate Nursing Homes tool, call the admissions coordinators of the nursing homes you have listed as potential options. They should be attentive and helpful and in addressing your individual circumstances, answering your questions, and providing information. If they are unhelpful, move onto the next nursing home on your list. The facility will advise you regarding the admission requirements. You can also get help from the community social worker and other professionals who specialize in the placement of prospective nursing facility residents.

When you plan a transfer from one nursing home to another because of changing care needs, dissatisfaction, or location concerns, you should narrow your search for the new location using our Investigate Nursing Homes tool. You can then utilize the resources provided by the admissions coordinator at your new nursing home facility. Inform the social worker/discharge planner about your plans to transfer out of the current nursing home.

Preparing Yourself

If you have carefully researched and chosen a nursing home facility to meet your short-term or long-term care needs, you may still have some apprehension about entering the facility. It is important to be aware of the fact that nursing homes have resources available to you to help you adjust physically and emotionally to your new circumstances. Social workers, admissions staff, psychological support services staff, and other staff members will be available to help you make the transition. They can also provide general support during this potentially stressful time. If you feel you need to talk with someone about any concerns or issues that you are having, do not hesitate to ask the nursing home about access to these services.

Talking to Your Loved One

If your loved one is moving to a nursing home, this may be a very difficult time for both of you. Moving into a nursing home will likely disrupt your loved one's routines and may cause stress or anxiety. To the greatest extent possible, potential nursing home residents should be involved in the decision-making process. However, cognitive ability, emotional history, current state of mind, and physical status may limit a senior's ability be an active part of the nursing home selection process. It is important to be honest, forthright and supportive with your loved one during this time. If you are concerned about how your loved one will handle this transition, speak to the nursing home staff members and inquire about any services and resources they have that may ease this process. This may include psychological counseling and assistance from social workers and other staff members.

What to bring to the nursing home:

  • Clothing that is comfortable and does not require dry-cleaning
  • Photographs
  • Personal effects such as makeup and hygiene products
  • Eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aids, and prosthetic devices

Find out if the facility allows residents to bring the following items:

  • Personal furniture
  • Electrical equipment
  • Personal medications
  • Alcohol
  • Food and snacks
  • Refrigerator

Check with the staff regarding policies on the following issues if they apply to you:

  • Smoking
  • Telephone, television, and computer access
  • Storage and security of personal items