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 the elderly, but for anyone who requires 24-hour care.
NIH: National Institute on Aging
- Alternatives to Nursing Homes (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) Also in Spanish
- Helping You Choose Quality Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Services (Joint Commission) - PDF
- Hospice Care (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Report a Complaint (about a Health Care Organization) (Joint Commission)
- Nursing Home Checklist (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) - PDF
Statistics and Research
- FastStats: Nursing Home Care (National Center for Health Statistics)
- National Nursing Home Survey (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Residents Living in Residential Care Facilities: United States, 2010 (National Center for Health Statistics)
- Use of Electronic Health Records in Residential Care Communities (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 (National Association of Area Agencies on Aging)
- Find a Nursing Home (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) Also in Spanish
- Find and Compare Doctors, Plans, Hospitals, Suppliers and Other Providers (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) Also in Spanish
- Locate an Ombudsman (National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care)
- National Institute on Aging Also in Spanish