How does the facility compare to others?
If a nursing home has been certified by Medicare or Medicaid, then it will also be listed by their "Nursing Home Compare" Internet service. This service allows you to search for a nursing home based on geographic criteria (or by nursing home name) and then lets you sort the results based on a variety of criteria. Medicare gives star rankings for health inspections, which include the results of onsite examinations of resident care; staffing, which examines the number of staff hours per patient per day; and various other quality measures that are self-reported by the nursing home.
Nothing beats an actual visit to a facility you are considering, but Nursing Home Compare is a great way to pare down your list before heading out.