caregiver holding hands with senior woman inside care facility

July 27, 2023

Tips for Admission into a Nursing Home

The Baby Boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, is one of the largest in United States history. As people in this generation continue to age, they’re now looking more and more into long-term and retirement care options. Currently, experts are concerned about the number of beds available in nursing homes across the country. The increased number of people needing care means gaining access to a nursing home could become more difficult.

In this blog, we’ve put together tips on when to start working on nursing home placement, how to get placement, and what to take with you when moving into the nursing home.

When to Start Looking

It can be difficult to decide when someone needs care from a nursing home. It’s helpful to speak with your family member about the possibility of nursing home care long before it might be needed. Get their opinion, where they might prefer to go, and how payment will be made. By making decisions in advance, it becomes much easier to make the final decision on where to go.

If you are in an urgent placement need situation, call your local nursing homes to ask about openings and a tour. If your loved one is in a hospital setting, work with the care coordinator there for placement priority if you have a preferred nursing home you would like your loved one to go to.

As difficult as it is, and as much as we all want to put it off, when your loved one is no longer safe or healthy at home, it is time to consider the nursing home. Each one of us is different, and only you and your family can make the decision at the right time, when you know your specific loved one is no longer able to care for themselves.

How to Apply

It’s not always easy to get into a nursing home immediately. If your family member is in the hospital, staff will work to find a nursing home with open availability. If you are in this situation and have the option of a nursing home after discharge, it would be best to take this opportunity. Otherwise, you will have to speak with your loved one’s primary care physician to get approval for placement into the nursing home.

Either way, the doctor from the hospital or their regular doctor will need to send an order for placement and a list of medications and medical conditions. You will need to coordinate this with a nursing home that has openings and is accepting people with your particular loved ones’ needs. It’s best to be in contact with admission staff at the nursing home so you can make sure steps that need to be taken on your end are being taken care of.

It is recommended to fill out a nursing home application before you actually need admittance. Waiting lists for admittance are not uncommon, so it’s better to have your information on file now for when the time comes. Some homes are stricter on the residents they accept, so do your research and talk to the admissions team before you decide.

Information you will need to provide prior to admission is personal information such as SSN, birth date, spousal information, hobbies and interests, income, banking information, and, depending on the payment method, a list of assets.

Medicare will most likely cover a portion of your stay for a certain period of time, but will not pay for long-term nursing home care. If your loved one does not have the cash to cover full-time nursing home living, Medicaid is the best option. Financially, Medicaid will require the submission of assets and cash to contribute toward nursing home expenses, so be prepared to provide all the information they need. Talk to an admissions counselor to discuss payment options and plans ahead of time.

Nursing Home Checklist

When you have it all figured out and are ready to admit your loved one into the nursing home, there are a few things you will need to bring with them to give them a sense of home and comfort.

  • Clothing – Pajamas, underclothes, comfortable daily wear outfits, and shoes. If you plan to keep their clothes washed for them, also bring a laundry basket for easy pick up for laundering.
  • Decor – Bring anything that will make their room cheerful and remind them of their family and life. Pictures, bedding, books, cards, etc.
  • Beauty and Hygiene – If your dad likes using his electric razor, send it along! Makeup, hair styling tools and products, perfume and any other special thing they use in their personal grooming should be sent with them.
  • Snacks – Meals are bountiful at Sunset Senior Living, but some folks are also snackers! Send along sweets or salty snacks that they like so they can munch whenever they want to.

Please note that most nursing homes don’t cover the loss of personal items, regardless of value. Jewelry, cash, or anything else that would be too valuable to lose should not come along to the nursing home.


It can be overwhelming to look for nursing homes, especially when you know your loved one needs additional care. Sunset Senior Living helps ease the process by assisting with preliminary paperwork and answering any questions you might have. Feel free to take a tour or talk with us about our room options. It isn’t too early to start the process. Contact Sunset Senior Living or apply online today.