Finding Skilled Nursing Care that Makes the Grade: 4 Questions to Ask First

Realizing your loved one needs additional care, particularly 24-hour care, can be emotionally challenging. Searching for the best care for a parent or spouse can also be physically and mentally draining. With plenty of choices in skilled nursing facilities in the Greensboro and High Point area, how do you select high-quality care?

Talking to friends or family who have firsthand experience with skilled nursing care and taking tours of places you are considering are good first steps. It’s also helpful to prepare a list of questions to ask when touring or gathering information by phone.  Here are four key questions to ask when considering skilled nursing choices. These questions can help you determine the quality of care provided.

4 Questions to Ask When Selecting Skilled Nursing Care


1. How long have administrators been with the facility, and what is the average length of employment of nurses and nursing aides?

You want to make sure there isn’t a high rate of staff turnover. A revolving door of administrators and nurses who stay with the facility for only one or two years before leaving indicates the organization could have issues that may result in less than ideal care for your loved one.

Nursing and administrative staff members who stay longer than a few years help create stability and quality inpatient care. A low turnover rate also indicates the community or organization is committed to a culture of excellence for both employees and residents.

2. What is the facility’s rating on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Nursing Home Compare website?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services compile information about skilled nursing facilities and use a five-star rating system that can be helpful in comparing nursing homes in your area.

The best rating is five stars, so look for facilities that have maintained an overall five-star rating for more than one year. The ratings are based on state health inspections, staffing levels, and 16 different quality measures. You can learn more or search for specific facilities at the government’s Nursing Home Compare website.

3. How are the residents’ days structured?

Are days structured around each resident’s individual choices, or around a set schedule for the facility? Look for skilled nursing care that allows residents to decide when they want to get up for the day, what activities they want to attend, and a variety of menu options for meals and snacks. Patient-centered care is part of the household care model that seeks to create a more home-like environment.

4. What is the ratio of nurses and aides to patients?

Knowing the number of registered nurses and certified nursing assistants per patient can give you an idea of how long it may take staff to respond to a request for help or the amount of time staff are able to spend with residents. Look for a ratio of 6 patients to each certified nursing assistant

Asking these four questions at the start of your search can help you narrow your selections. In addition to the quality of care provided, you may also have more practical questions, such as your ability to bring some of your own furniture, access to transportation for medical appointments, and more.

Explore Pennybyrn Skilled Nursing

Pennybyrn was the first community in the state of North Carolina to offer the household care model of skilled nursing, putting resident choices first. Today, Pennybyrn continues as a leader in skilled nursing care with a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for seven years in a row. Pennybyrn also has an impressive staff to patient ratio and attracts employees who make a career of serving at Pennybyrn.

Pennybyrn accepts residents at any level of care, so you do not have to be a member of the retirement community to enter skilled nursing. If you’re ready to explore the Pennybyrn difference, complete our online form to receive more information or to arrange a tour.