How to Prepare for Nursing Home Care – Advice from Elan Skilled Nursing and Rehab

While there is a lot of anxiety about nursing homes in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, most nursing facilities are working hard to keep residents and staff members safe. Additional safety precautions and protocols have been instituted in nursing homes across the country, and nursing homes are still a great option for aging individuals who require some amount of assistance and care.

Preparing for care in a nursing home setting can be daunting! If you’re the family member helping an older loved one move to a nursing home, you may both feel a sense of loss, fear, anger, and a lot of guilt. The move affects both the person requiring additional care as well as family and friends around him/her. The nursing home becomes your new family home.  Relinquishing the care of a loved one to others is often bittersweet.  No one can care for your VIP (very important person) like YOU!

People go to nursing homes for different reasons, including if they’re sick, hurt, had surgery and need to get better, or have chronic care needs or disabilities that require on going nursing care. Sometimes nursing home care is planned and sometimes the need arises unexpectedly. Planning ahead for you or your loved one(s) future care needs can help you make informed decisions about nursing home care if and when the need arises.

The first step is to learn about the nursing homes in your area.

  • Find nursing homes in your area;
  • Compare the quality of the nursing homes you are considering;
  • Review the regulatory survey results of each nursing home;
  • Visit the nursing homes you’re interested in; and
  • Choose the nursing home that best meets your needs.

There are many ways to compare the quality of the nursing homes you’re considering.  One way is to ask those you trust, such as your family, friends, neighbors, clergy, and/or physician.  Word of mouth is the most influential way of learning.  Hearing about others first-hand experiences often proves invaluable in this type of decision.

You can also gain insight into area nursing homes through Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website. Visit to get quality metrics on any nursing home across the country. This website assigns each nursing home a star rating between 1 and 5 stars, with a 5 star being the highest quality rating.  A nursing home’s overall rating is based on their performance in 3 areas:

  1. Health Inspections
  2. Staffing
  3. Quality Measures

State inspectors conduct yearly health and safety inspections of nursing homes for compliance with Medicare and Medicaid regulations. A nursing home may also be inspected more frequently based on a complaint submitted by a resident (or other individual), or based on a facility’s self-reported incident. Nursing homes are also inspected for compliance with infection control and prevention standards. The inspection team looks at many aspects of life in the nursing home including; the care of the residents, the processes used to provide resident’s care, how the staff interact with the residents, and the nursing home environment.

Inspectors make observations, review resident records and facility documents, and interview residents, family members, and staff to determine how well the nursing home is performing. Any finding where the nursing home fails to meet a specific standard results in a citation.

The health inspection score is calculated using the nursing home’s health inspection findings over the past three years as well as determining how prevalent the problem identified is and the impact to residents in assigning the star rating for this category.

The staffing rating is based on staffing levels of those staff providing direct resident care. Higher staffing levels result in higher number of stars while lower staffing levels represent fewer stars. Staffing levels and turnover of staff in nursing homes often impact the quality of care nursing home residents receive making it a very important factor in selecting a nursing home.

The quality measure rating is the final area of performance included in the overall star rating and communicates the quality of care the nursing home provides in certain areas of care, such as if residents are losing weight, are in pain, or have pressure ulcers.  Nursing homes that demonstrate high quality outcomes in these areas have more stars while those who have poorer quality outcomes receive less.

By comparing scores in these very important areas, you can see how nursing homes might differ from each other in the care they provide.

Once you have narrowed down your list it is critical that you visit each home before you make a final decision. A visit will give you the chance to see interactions between the staff and those they care for. It will also allow you to evaluate first-hand the cleanliness of the environment. Scheduling a tour with the admissions coordinator will allow you to ask questions and probe into areas where you may have concerns.  There is no substitute for seeing first-hand the environment, quality of care and life activities provided in the nursing home.

Elan Skilled Nursing and Rehab was founded in 1916. Our warm and inviting senior community has earned a reputation as the region’s premier provider of short-term rehabilitation, long-term skilled nursing care, and Alzheimer’s care that is demonstrated by our overall 4-star rating. We are grateful to our staff for their daily efforts in attaining high quality outcomes for our residents, indicated in our 5-star Quality Measure rating.

The nursing home admission process can be overwhelming, especially when considering the emotional impact of placing your loved one in this new environment. Have patience and compassion for yourself and the one moving.

At Elan Skilled Nursing and Rehab, A Jewish Senior Life Community (formerly the Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania), our priority is our residents.  We welcome people of all faiths to our Scranton, Pennsylvania, community that offers engaging social activities, entertainment, full-service dining, multiple common living spaces on our first floor, beauty salon, and landscaped patio with gorgeous views of the downtown area.   We are honored that you entrust us with the care of your loved ones and thank you for your confidence, patience and cooperation. Talk to our admissions team about care for your loved one, 570-344-6177 extension 1151 or complete an online admissions form:

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Visit us:
1101 Vine St.
Scranton, PA 18510

Call us:
(570) 344-6177