Your aging parents and family members deserve high-quality care, so it’s essential that you find a nursing home that will offer them nothing less than the best. Whether you’re transitioning your loved one to their first facility or you’re unhappy with their current care and need to find a better option, thorough research will help you find the right resources and ensure that they get the treatment that they need.

While there are thousands of nursing homes throughout the country, all of those facilities aren’t created equal. Moving a parent into a nursing home or shopping around for the best care is difficult and emotionally taxing, so keep the following tips in mind as you work through the process.

Read Online Ratings

Just as you would with any other major decision, start with online research. For instance, you can look at ratings and inspection materials for different nursing homes on Medicare’s online database. You can also read reviews posted by the families of other patients to get a decent outlook on a facility’s overall performance.

Your loved one’s physician may recommend a facility for specialized care, but it’s still a good idea to check out their reputation online. If you aren’t comfortable with any aspect of that nursing home’s care, request a different referral.

If you’re moving your loved one from one nursing home to another, don’t hesitate to report any problems that you had with their current facility. Problems like bed sores, verbal mistreatment, medication errors, and neglect are serious issues that could even warrant legal action, not just a poor review. Your feedback will encourage change and help other families find better options.

Stay Close to Home

While the quality of the nursing home your loved one will be in is very important, you should also prioritize proximity to other family members. Try to find a highly rated facility that is close to where you or another relative lives. This way, your loved one can have frequent visitors and have a contact nearby in the event of an emergency.

Whether your loved one is moving into their first nursing home or they’ve been in one for a while, they will be very happy to have visitors to keep them company and check up on their care. Whether they need an advocate to speak to the staff on their behalf or they need someone to check up on a problem, having family members come in and out of the facility ensures that the staff will stay on top of their care.

Schedule a Visit

Next, you should take the time to visit the facilities on your shortlist in person. In some cases, reviews and ratings can be misleading or neglect to include information that could help you make your decision. If you get a firsthand look at the condition of the facility, the demeanor and actions of the staff, and the overall wellbeing of the patients, you and your loved one can feel much more comfortable about your decision.

If your loved one is able to visit with you, they can determine if the environment is a good fit for them. If not, you may have to make a decision according to their preferences. Each nursing home will have a different vibe and different levels of activity, so it’s wise to consider that before committing to a choice. Talking to aging loved ones about important life events and decisions is tough, but it will help you represent them and their wishes well. This is especially important in the event they end up needing to go to a memory care facility.

As a final note, be sure not to visit any nursing homes or similar facilities if you are feeling sick or have concerns that you were exposed to any health risks. Nursing home patients often have weakened immune systems, so they are more susceptible to contracting viruses and other illnesses.

Finding a quality nursing home for your loved one is a difficult and emotional process, but there are facilities all over the country that offer great care and treatment. With these tips, you can make your search more effective and thorough and ensure that your loved one gets the help they need.