A nursing home is a place for people who don't need to be in a hospital but can't be cared for at home. Most nursing homes have nursing aides and skilled nurses on hand 24 hours a day.
Some nursing homes are set up like a hospital. The staff provides medical care, as well as physical, speech and occupational therapy. There might be a nurses' station on each floor. Other nursing homes try to be more like home. They try to have a neighborhood feel. Often, they don't have a fixed day-to-day schedule, and kitchens might be open to residents. Staff members are encouraged to develop relationships with residents.
Some nursing homes have special care units for people with serious memory problems such as Alzheimer's disease. Some will let couples live together. Nursing homes are not only for older adults, but for anyone who requires 24-hour care.
NIH: National Institute on Aging
- Finding Quality Nursing Home Care (AGS Health in Aging Foundation) - PDF
- How to Choose a Nursing Home or Other Long-Term Care Facility (National Institute on Aging)
- Nursing Homes (AGS Health in Aging Foundation)
- Hospice Care (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Report a Patient Safety Concern or File a Complaint (Joint Commission)
- What Are My Other Long-Term Care Choices? (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) Also in Spanish
- Nursing Home Checklist (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) - PDF
Statistics and Research
- National Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Study (National Center for Health Statistics)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
Find an Expert
- AAAs (Area Agencies on Aging) & Title VI Aging Programs (USAging)
- Find Nursing Homes Including Rehab Services (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) Also in Spanish
- Find the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program in Your State (National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care)
- Medicare: Find and Compare Health Care Providers (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) Also in Spanish
- National Institute on Aging Also in Spanish