Choosing a Nursing Home – Your Checklist

Choosing the right nursing home can be quite an overwhelming experience, emotionally and otherwise. With so many options out there, ...

Choosing the right nursing home can be quite an overwhelming experience, emotionally and otherwise.

With so many options out there, it’s important to know the right questions to ask and the key areas to consider to help you and your loved ones make the best decision.

We have split this guide into several sections, all of which are important in finding the nursing home which best suits your needs.

Services and Fees

– What services are provided by the nursing home? This is very important if you will need care for specific medical conditions (e.g. alzheimer’s care)

– What fees are charged?

– Is there tax relief or state funding available to help with the cost?

– Have you considered applying for the Fair Deal scheme?

Logistics, Accessibility and Accreditations

– Is the nursing home registered with HIQA? (Health Information and Quality Authority)

– How are they accredited?

– Are they involved in quality initiatives? (e.g. Essence of Care)

– Are they a member of Nursing Homes Ireland? (NHI)

– Do they currently have a waiting list in place?

– Are the beds in private or shared rooms?

– Is the nursing home accessible for family and friends? Is it close to a bus route? Are there local amenities nearby?

– Is it close to a hospital in case of medical emergencies?

– What is the visitation policy? Is there a residents committee?

Quality of Life for Residents

– Are the staff respectful to residents? Do they seem compassionate and caring?

– What recreational and social activities are available to the residents?

– Is there entertainment provided regularly?

– Do the residents have a choice of meals? Are specific dietary requirements catered for?

– Are other personal services (hairdressing, chiropody etc.) provided and at what additional cost?

– Are residents allowed to leave the home with family for day / weekend outings?

– Are hobbies encouraged? It is important that residents retain some autonomy in the home. Studies have shown that this can lead to increased well being.

Quality of Care for Residents

– Does the nursing home have a contract of care?

– What are the staff to resident ratios?

– How are staff selected and trained? What skills and qualifications are necessary to be a staff member?

– Can the nursing home provide testimonials and references from current and past residents? Can you talk to the residents yourself and find out if they are content?

– Are personal doctors allowed into the nursing home to check up on their patients?

– What other professional services (physiotherapy, occupational therapy etc.) are available?

How to get started?

– Find Nursing Homes in your area – search our directory, full listings are also available on

– Make an appointment to visit nursing homes you are interested in. You should also visit outside appointment times to clarify any outstanding issues

– Organise a formal tour of the nursing home

– Take mental notes of the services, activities, the atmosphere, cleanliness, the friendliness of the staff

– Ask as many questions as you need to during the tour

We hope this will help ease some of the stress of this important decision.

Much of this information is from the detailed guide ‘Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home’ from Nursing Homes Ireland.

Have we missed anything important? Let us know in the comments.


– See more at: