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Why the People Are the Most Important Consideration in a Nursing Home Tour

Published: October 16, 2019

When a loved one needs specialized care, it may come time to consider the attention a nursing home can provide. Selecting a nursing home can feel overwhelming. After all, there is a lot to take into account: the location, the cleanliness of the facility, the types of rehabilitative services offered, whether the nursing home is Medicaid or Medicare certified, and, of course, the cost.

But all of those things don’t amount to much if you don’t consider the people, which can be the most important factor in your search. As you visit each nursing home on your list, here are some tips on what to look for and why.

Why the People Matter

Imagine that you drive up to a nursing home that looks more like a four-star resort. The lobby is spotless with a chandelier hanging from the ceiling and a plush rug on the floor. The director is polite and seems sweet enough, but the truth is she barely knows the patients’ names. Her staff turnover is high, the food served is sub-par and the residents aren’t engaged very much.

You want the best possible care for your loved one, which is why the caregivers should be the top priority in your search for a nursing home. The transition to a nursing home is difficult enough; it can be uncomfortable, anxiety-provoking, and even a little daunting. Put yourself in their shoes: they’re older, unsure, maybe confused, and even a little lonely. What kind of people would you want to take care of you? Those who are kind, caring and compassionate, or those who don’t seem like they even want to come to work?

What to Look For in a Nursing Home

As you embark on your nursing home tour, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Does your tour guide greet residents? As you walk through the facility, does this person interact with the residents and acknowledge them by name?
  • How does the staff treat residents? Do they greet residents as well? Are they quick to help or do they ignore residents’ requests? Do they yell at residents and act frustrated, or do they act with kindness?
  • How do the residents look? Do they seem well-rested and engaged? Or do they appear unkempt and disheveled?
  • What are the residents doing? Are the residents active or lying around? Are they sitting up, walking and dressed for the day?

If you can, chat with one or two of the residents and ask about their experience. The director will sell you on everything the nursing home has to offer, but the best testimony comes from the people who live there. A second visit is also a good idea, preferably unscheduled and unannounced. It’s a good way to test to see if the staff changes behavior or hides anything to make the facility look more appealing.


If you’re someone who likes to take care of others, a healthcare career may be for you. Charter a College offers programs in Allied Health, Health Care Administration, and more. Call 888-200-9942 to learn more.