Nursing home tip: Observe the staff

Nursing home tip: Observe the staff

It’s important for a nursing home to have a sufficient number of medical staff on hand. Many of the positive nursing home reviews on Angie’s List mention a solid relationship between the family of the resident and the nursing home staff and administrators.

As you tour different nursing homes, take mental notes of how many staff members are present, and how they interact with the residents. You should also ask the home’s administrator about how many nurses will be on staff on a daily basis.

According to federal regulations, long term care facilities must have at least one registered nurse on staff for eight consecutive hours, seven days a week, but there is no federal mandate that sets the number of nursing staff based on the number of residents living at the facility. Many states have their own laws that govern nursing home staff levels so you should check state regulations for more specific information.

Angie’s List member Jonathan Kromer says the staff played a major role in his decision to take his mother to White Oak Manor in Charlotte, N.C. “We chose WOM because of their committed and long-term staff,” he says. “Staff turnover is low here, as opposed to most other facilities. “

Kromer moved his mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, to White Oak after she “nearly died due to neglect” at a different facility.

He says the Charlotte nursing home has a reputation for excellent care, and it was close to his home, which made it easier to visit his mother on a regular basis and monitor her care. “The staff at WOM expressed a sincere interest in our mother and wanted to know her as a person, even though her functioning was impaired by dementia,” Kromer says. “They took care to place her in a semi-private room with a compatible roommate, and monitored her acclimation to the facility.” 

Kromer says he had an extensive conversation with the home’s administrator before signing up, and expressed his concerns about his mother’s care. “He did not engage in selling, but rather worked with us to ensure it would be a good fit,” he says. “The administrator was honest and straightforward, a refreshing change after the outright lies we were told at the other home.”

Angie’s List member Suzanne Graboski had a great relationship with the nursing staff at William Breman Jewish Home, where she took her father for rehab after a surgery.

“The facility was fantastic,” she says of the Atlanta nursing home. “I cannot express how wonderful they are. The nursing staff goes above and beyond; the physical therapists also do an amazing job and have a great attitude.” Graboski notes that her father is a retired doctor and he was also impressed with the nursing home staff. offers the following tips for observing nursing home staff:

  • Does the relationship between the staff and residents appear to be warm, polite, and respectful?
  • Does the staff knock on the door before entering a resident’s room? Do they refer to residents by name?
  • Does the nursing home offer a training and continuing education program for all staff?
  • Does the nursing home check to make sure they don’t hire staff members who have been found guilty of abuse, neglect or mistreatment of residents?
  • Is there a licensed nursing staff 24 hours a day, including a Registered Nurse (RN) present at least 8 hours per day, 7 days a week?

Next: Make sure it's the right fit

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A young women gives a manicure to an elderly woman.
A weekly visit to give a loved one a manicure or to spend time reading a novel are ways to spend quality time with a loved one in a nursing home. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

It's important to consider the quality of medical care, resident services and activities when selecting a nursing home. Angie's List members explain why they chose specific nursing homes and elder care facilities.

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