Selecting the Right Ohio Nursing Home Care Facility

Selecting an Ohio nursing home facilitySeeking nursing home care for a loved one is possibly one of the most anguishing decisions a family will make.  Family members can be overwrought with a turmoil of mixed emotions ranging from guilt because they are no longer able to care for their cherished one, to anxiety concerning the quality of care that their loved one will receive in the nursing home.  The tremendous amount of pressure felt by family members to find a reliable nursing home can be very stressful.

You may have a comfortable amount of time to research nursing homes or you may be under some deadline to find one immediately. In any case, it’s good to have a plan of action.  This article is meant to be of some help in your search, and hopefully it will do so.

Nursing homes offer two levels of service and they are as follow:

1. Skilled Nursing Facilities:  These offer continual nursing service on a 24-hour basis to residents requiring extensive care or rehabilitative care by registered nurses, based on treatment or instructions prescribed by the resident’s physician.

2. Intermediate Care Facilities:  Best suited for residents with chronic health conditions but who do not require Intensive care.  The staff in these facilities usually consists of licensed practical nurses and nurses’ aides who provide medical, social, and rehabilitative services.

Nursing homes must be licensed by the state in which they operate.  In addition, nursing homes must be certified by the federal government before they can receive Medicaid or Medicare payments. This is crucial.

Special Considerations:

Try to select at least three homes to visit.  The selection should be based on the following characteristics:

  • The patient’s specific health issues.  For instance, someone recovering from hip or knee replacement surgery, or recovering from a condition such as a stroke, should seek the hospital-like setting offered by the Skilled Nursing Care facilities.  A family member with Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia would benefit from an Intermediate Care facility which has staff and physical space devoted to the care of those patients.\
  •  Location, location.  Choose facilities  that will be easily accessible for visits from family and friends.
  •  Your loved one’s spiritual and cultural needs and preferences.  Make sure the facility will accommodate the practices of your cherished one’s spiritual or religious affiliation and/or cultural back- ground.

Payment Methods Accepted:

If the family member has private insurance, only certain facilities may be covered.  Not all facilities accept Medicaid patients or those whose financial resources may run dry in the near future.  Be vigilant and inform yourself in advance about the possibility of your cherished one being faced with an abrupt move if his or her funds are exhausted.

Tours and Inspections:

Once you have winnowed out the homes that do not fit your loved one’s requirements you can now focus on the ones that have aroused your interest.  Call each facility and arrange a visit with the administrator or admissions director.  It is recommendable to visit the nursing home in the late morning or early afternoon to observe the noon meal.  This will give you the opportunity to take note of the inter-action between residents and the general ambience and personality of the home.  Attempt to visit a second time during the weekend or evening because these are generally times when nursing homes reduce their staff and services.

Questions to Ask:

Make a list of questions tailored to your family member’s particular needs and circumstances.  Make a list prior to your first visit.  The following questions are typical examples of what you may ask the administrator:

How many other residents have similar medical needs as my family member?

Do at least some staff members have specific training to care for residents with a similar diagnosis?

If your loved one has a conflict with his or her roommate, what accommodations can be made?

Ask questions regarding food served, spiritual needs, available activities, and any other question you may think is pertinent to your loved one’s needs and comfort.  Ask the same questions of all the homes visited so you can make a comparison.  Making a summary of all the replies while still there, can help you remember what each home offered.

Finally, every certified nursing home undergoes annual state and federal inspection surveys. You can ask the nursing home administrator to show you the results of the home’s most recent government inspection survey and have him or her explain the results.

What to Look for During a Tour:

1. Certification.   Make sure the facility and its administrators are licensed by the state and that the home is certified for Medicare and Medicaid.  Review the state health department’s report and contact the Nursing Home state investigator to see if there have been any serious problems at the home.

2. Staff. The licensed staff of nursing homes can range from certified nursing assistants to registered nurses, while some homes also employ nurse practitioners.  In appraising the facility’s staff, take note of the following:

Is the staff to patient ratio adequate?

Is the staff friendly and attentive?

Do they show a respectful attitude towards the patients?

Are they clean, well-groomed and work well as a team in an organized manner?


Observe whether the residents look well-groomed and appropriately dressed.  Check to see if the residents are engaged in various activities and whether they are able to go outdoors.   Do the residents seem content and reasonably alert?   Is the staff stimulating them in some way?

Living Quarters

Are the rooms clean, tidy, and odor-free?  The rooms should also have at least one window and  adequate privacy.   Take note as to whether residents can decorate their rooms to some degree with their personal belongings.


Look for smoke detectors, call buttons, handrails in the hallways, grab bars in the bathrooms, and other accessories aimed at preventing accidents.

Final Choice

Once you have chosen the homes based on location, quality of care, and ability to care for the particular needs of your family member, the final determinant will be your intuition and senses; sight, sound and experience.

Reading the Admissions Agreement

When visiting each facility, ask the administrator for a written statement of the basic monthly charges and what services are covered, including the level of nursing care, therapy, room size, number of meals and housekeeping services. Beware of institutions that require the payment of a large deposit that may “lock in” a patient who depletes his or her life savings to make this payment.   This maneuver may make it impossible for the resident to move elsewhere for lack of funds.   If a deposit is mandatory, investigate the possibility of making monthly installments into a deposit fund.  Also, be aware that a nursing home cannot require a pre-payment or admissions deposit from a patient relying on Medicare or Medicaid for payment of its services and care.

Some non-profit facilities require that a patient sign over all their assets to become the institution’s property after their death.  On the other hand, it is illegal for a for-profit institution to follow this same procedure.   Make sure you understand these stipulations before signing an agreement.

Paying for Long Term Care

Long term care can be very expensive.   It is of utmost concern to most families as to how they are going to tackle the costs of this type of service and care.  A few of the financial strategies used today are as follows:

Reverse Mortgages are loans that allow seniors to tap the equity in their home.  The bank agrees to lend the senior a percentage of the home’s market value that does not have to be repaid until the homeowner’s death and the house is sold.

Life Insurance policies are another possible alternative.  The owner of a life insurance policy can borrow against its cash value, therefore using the policy as collateral for a loan.  The loan plus interest is then deducted from the death benefit when the insured dies.  Also, seniors who are struggling to pay premiums on life insurance policies have the option of selling their policies to provide funds for their long term care.  Consult an accountant, lawyer, or other financial expert before signing this kind of agreement.

Viatical Settlements are agreements in which a company pays a terminally ill person a percentage of the face value of the individual’s life insurance in cash before their death.  As a result, the company then becomes the new beneficiary of the policy.  Again, consult an accountant, lawyer, or other financial professional before signing this type of agreement.

How to Evaluate

The Ohio Department of Health offers valuable information on their website as follows:  will assist consumers in evaluating a nursing home or in comparing various nursing homes.  The website offers vital information for consumers on how to choose a nursing home and provides links to a network of inspection results for all nursing homes in Ohio.

Nursing homes are inspected by the State every nine to 15 months to assess compliance with federal standards of care such as adequate staffing, quality of care, and cleanliness of facilities. More detailed information about individual nursing homes in Ohio is available at the federal government website, .  This site contains a search tool to locate information on every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home and hospital in the country.  At this website you can obtain information about any nursing home you are thinking of such as information on the nursing home amenities, the composition of the resident population and the results of the home’s most recent state inspection.  You can also request a comparison of two or more nursing homes.

Where to Get Help – Complaints

The complaint hot line is 800-342-0553 for anyone suspecting elder abuse and/or abuse of your loved one.  Do not be afraid to use this hotline as it is there for your family member’s protection.  Please be aware that signs of neglect are also found under the umbrella of what is considered abuse.

Ohio inspectors use the Long Term Care Survey Manual in their investigations, as it details federal regulations and provides a thorough analysis of care required.  Examination of a complaint is completed by surveyors after receiving relevant documents from the Ohio Dept of Health.

The Ohio Dept of Health Complaint Unit is located in Columbus, OH.  The address is as follows:

Bureau of Health Care Standards

246 North High St- 3rd floor

P.O. Box 118

Columbus, OH  43215

Tel: 614-752-9524 / Fax: 614-564-2450

Lists of enforcement actions may be obtained by contacting the Bureau of Regulatory Compliance

at 614-644-6220.

Inspection reports for individual homes or residential care are available from the Bureau of Information & Operation Support at 614-644-7238.  The cost of receiving these is minimal.

Hopefully, the information in this article will be of some help in your search for the nursing home that best fits your loved one’s particular needs and circumstances.   This serves only as a guiding light to steer you in the right direction. Remember, being well informed and educated in this matter will be a major line of defense in reaching your set destination.

To learn more about Ohio nursing homes and how to avoid nursing home abuse and elder abuse in Ohio nursing homes , please visit

If you suspect nursing home abuse or negligence, please contact us by calling 1-800-297-9191 for a FREE consultation with an expeerienced nursing home abuse attorney or send us  Blog Message to schedule a time to talk.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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One Comment on “Selecting the Right Ohio Nursing Home Care Facility”

  1. LPN Campaign Says:

    This is my first time i visit here. I found so many useful stuff in your website especially its discussion. From the a lot of comments on your articles. Keep up a good job.


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