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Where’s a Good Place to Evaluate Nursing Homes? The Parking Lot.

May 4, 2012

John Christopher Fine, a former special counsel to the U.S. Senate Aging Committee, has harsh words for many of the nursing homes he’s seen. In an opinion piece published at the news website, Fine highlights the importance of researching nursing homes before committing and then keeping an eye on things once your loved one moves in.

One good place to check out the facility is in the parking lot, Fine says. That’s because you may run into relatives there.

While difficult it may be possible to ask another patient’s relatives what they think during an inspection visit. Visitors are shepherded around the institution and have little chance for unsupervised conversations with staff, patients, or relatives. Sometimes the parking lot is a good place to ask relatives leaving the facility what their experience is.

Fine underscores the necessity of continuing to visit after the move. Thwarting expectations is important here too. “Most important are visits that are unscheduled and at varied hours of the day and night,” he says.

You can start your nursing-home research at, where you’ll find ratings and reviews for facilities in your area.

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 10, 2012 12:32 pm

    This was really sound advice…and I have never thought of it from that perspective.

    So often when you go online you get the ‘boiler plate’ answers to questions. For example, go to the website to evaluate a nursing home.

    But this certainly gave a different side to the argument.

    In addition, I would add seeking out recommendations…especially if that person you are seeking the recommendation from is in the medical field.

    I know a nurse that checked out 12 nursing homes in my area and used for advice to oick the one for my mother.

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