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Things to keep in mind before moving a relative to a nursing home

by Melissa Bell
4 minutes read

The decision to move a loved one into a nursing home is never easy, and for many, it’s the last resort. However, for those who are faced with this difficult choice, there are some things that you can do to make the process easier for everyone involved. The first thing you should do is talk about it openly with your loved ones and make sure they’re part of the decision. It will allow them to feel in control of the situation and less like they’re being forced into something they don’t want to do. Once the decision has been made, it’s time to select the nursing home and start preparing for the move in.  Let’s look at the things that need to be taken care of before that.


Preparation essentials

The most moving and significant part of sending a loved one to a nursing home is the transition and preparation. Hence, it is of utmost vital that you make the room as comfortable as possible. If you are confused about what essentials you need to pack, you can always ask for their preferences.

So, the first thing to do as a caregiver is to understand what the senior citizen’s needs are. This will help you determine what they should pack and what they should purge. For example, if your loved one has trouble walking, they will need an electric wheelchair or a hospital bed with a transfer board.

It’s also essential to understand the difference between packing and purging. Packing includes transporting items from the home to the SNF in anticipation of admission. Purging includes disposing of items that are no longer needed or wanted by your loved one, such as clothes that no longer fit.

Clothes and personal products

When deciding what kinds of clothing you’ll need to pack to a nursing home and how much, several practical matters should be taken into account.

  • What is the temperature range?
  • Are the clothes easy to wear and comfortable season-wise?
  • Are accessories included in the clothing?

When it comes to personal products such as shampoo or toothpaste, they are based on brand preference. Thus, it’s best to pack in whatever products they usually use; it will help them find comfort during their stay.

Laws and regulations of nursing homes

The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Center, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for protecting residents in nursing homes from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. In short, nursing home regulations are overseen by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and enforced by state surveyors who are required to make unannounced visits at least once every three years to check on compliance with federal regulations.

Some states have additional needs that exceed federal standards. For example, California requires that nursing homes be staffed with at least one registered nurse on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The CMS manual contains several pointers stating lists of requirements nursing homes should give to the residents, some of which are as follows:

  • A room with a window to the outside for every resident.
  • A private bathroom for every resident.
  • A nurse on staff at all times.
  • Wellness programs and activities that are tailored to residents’ needs and preferences

According to reports, several complaints of widespread neglect and abuse going on in nursing homes, Congress enacted legislation in 1987 requiring nurses to report any signs of such abuse. This law is known as the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. It was passed after a series of investigations revealed that many nursing home residents were being neglected or abused by their caretakers.

If there are any violations of the federal regulations, it would be wise to sue the nursing home for it. Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer and file a complaint against the nursing home. The legislation created a system for reporting such abuse, which was designed to help ensure that the problem would be addressed more quickly.

The NHRA states that nursing homes receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds must, at a minimum, comply with federal nursing home regulations. These federal regulations are detailed and cover several areas, including staffing levels and facility requirements.


Nursing homes can be an overwhelming change for your senior loved one, so try highlighting the positive aspects. One of them is that it will be a new experience with a reliable community and that their stay will be full of happy activities that they’ll remember. The best way to get a good idea of what a nursing home costs is to visit the website, read reviews and ask family members who have experience with that home.

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