Think you know AARP? What you don’t know about us may surprise you. Discover all the ‘Real Possibilities’



Guidance When You Need it

How to Choose a Nursing Home: The ‘Do’s’ of Due Diligence

Where to start - These pointers may help caregivers with the sometimes daunting task

Before you sign on the dotted line, do a litigation search. You might need to enlist professional help for this, but it’s a relatively simple element of your due diligence process. Has the nursing home you’re considering been sued, and if so, why? (Negligence, discrimination, wrongful termination, etc.) Did the litigation conclude with a judgment or an out-of-court settlement?

While you’re at it, you might want to determine whether the nursing home’s medical director—who must be a medical doctor—or any other physician affiliated with the facility has been involved in medical malpractice litigation, and if so, how the litigation concluded.

In the end, of course, you may never locate the perfect nursing home. Experts say that once a decision is made, an individual moves into a nursing home and Medicare funds are expended, it’s all the more difficult to undo the decision and move the resident into another facility. Better a full-court press at the outset than remorse and very limited options later.

Peter Ross Range is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Resource Center

Find tools, work sheets and tips on how to plan, prepare and succeed as a caregiver. Select a Caregiving Resource Center topic from the drop-down menu below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Prescription medication spilling out of bottle

Members get a free Rx discount card from AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by Catamaran.

Woman trying on glasses in optometrists shop

Members save up to 60% on eye exams from Sears Optical.

membership schwanns discount

Members get double Schwan’s rewards on all online orders from Schwan's Home Service™.

Caregiving walking

Caregiving can be a lonely journey, but AARP offers resources that can help.