To find the right nursing home, begin by talking with the prospective resident's personal physician to determine the type of care facility needed. In addition, the physician will be able to tell you any specific diet, therapies or other special services that will be required; and give you a prognosis of the resident's condition. To obtain the names of homes consult your physician, the patient's physician, clergy, medical society, health department, area agency on aging, local nursing home association, senior citizens and social work groups, Social Security office and the yellow pages. This may seem like a lot of contacts, but it is unlikely that any one individual or organization has complete information on all the nursing homes in your area. Also, don't forget to visit the facilities. Plan to spend at least an hour visiting, touring the facility, and talking with administrators. If possible go during late morning or midday, so you can observe the noon meal.
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