How to Choose a Skilled Nursing Facility: Four Tips

A skilled nursing facility is so much more than assisted living. It’s a place where you or your loved one can enjoy the best possible quality of life while receiving a high level of care from specialized nurses and medical staff. At Gulf Coast Health Care, we strive to provide our patients and residents with as much independence as possible along with exceptional care, whether they’re with us permanently or for short-term rehabilitation care.

We’ve developed several specialized health and medical programs to address the diverse needs of everyone in our care, including:

  • Cardiac care
  • Respiratory care
  • Onsite dialysis
  • Wound care
  • Surgical recovery
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • IV therapy
  • Alzheimer’s & dementia care
  • Hospice and palliative care

How to choose a good nursing home

Perhaps one of the most difficult decisions a family member can make is to move a loved one into a nursing home. Not only can it be overwhelming, but it can also come with a fair amount of guilt. However, a skilled nursing facility is often the best option for someone who needs medical care 24 hours a day. Here are four tips for making sure you choose the one that’s best for your loved one and your family:

  1. Do your due diligence, check references and ratings
    Before moving a loved one into a skilled nursing facility ask friends, neighbors, family members and physicians for recommendations. You can also use the Nursing Home Compare tool at to compare skilled nursing facilities in your desired area based on their quality of care, what specialized services they offer as well as their health and safety inspection results. Please keep in mind this data may be incomplete, as extended parameters were put into place to allow surveyors to focus on inspection control due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you can call your Long-Term Care Ombudsman, an advocate for patients and residents of skilled nursing facilities. We also highly recommend reviewing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccination data for patients, residents and staff.
  2. Take a tour
    In many cases, families need to make a rushed decision after an emergency or unexpected hospitalization. To avoid this stressful situation, we recommend scheduling a series of “just in case” tours with your top choices. These tours can help you get acquainted with the staff, routines, mealtimes and recreational options. It will also give you added peace of mind if or when the time comes to make this decision.
  3. Consider specialty care options
    When narrowing down your choices, look for nursing homes that offer several specialized health and medical programs. You may be focused on the type of care your loved one needs now, but it’s important to plan for changing, or more intensive, healthcare needs your loved one may have in the future.
  4. Discuss payment options
    The last step to choosing a quality nursing home for your loved one is to consider payment options. Many seniors have private insurance (through current or past employment) that will cover a portion of the cost. Contact their insurance plan to confirm eligibility and coverage. In many cases, seniors are also eligible for Medicare or Medicaid benefits to help pay for much of their cost at Gulf Coast Health Care.

If you are looking for a skilled nursing facility that is a leader in national rankings for quality, consider Gulf Coast Health Care. We offer a range of specialized health and medical programs to give your loved one the quality care they need and deserve. Visit our locations page to find a center near you and call us to schedule a tour.

PCA to CNA Program - Gulf Coast Health Care

Gulf Coast Health Care - Pensacola, FL

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