A nursing home is a place for people who don't need to be in a hospital but can't be cared for at home. Most nursing homes have nursing aides and skilled nurses on hand 24 hours a day.
Some nursing homes are set up like a hospital. The staff provides medical care, as well as physical, speech and occupational therapy. There might be a nurses' station on each floor. Other nursing homes try to be more like home. They try to have a neighborhood feel. Often, they don't have a fixed day-to-day schedule, and kitchens might be open to residents. Staff members are encouraged to develop relationships with residents.
Some nursing homes have special care units for people with serious memory problems such as Alzheimer's disease. Some will let couples live together. Nursing homes are not only for the elderly, but for anyone who requires 24-hour care.
NIH: National Institute on Aging
- Eldercare at Home: Choosing a Nursing Home (AGS Foundation for Health in Aging)
- Ensuring Quality Nursing Home Care (American Geriatrics Society) - PDF
- Long-Term Care (National Institute on Aging)
- Nursing Homes (AGS Foundation for Health in Aging)
- Nursing Homes: Making the Right Choice (National Institute on Aging) Available in Spanish
- Your Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home or Other Long-Term Care (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) - PDF
- Alternatives to Nursing Homes (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)
- Caregiving (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)
- Helping You Choose Quality Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Services (Joint Commission) - PDF
- Hospice Care (American Academy of Family Physicians) Available in Spanish
- Report a Complaint (about a Health Care Organization) (Joint Commission)
- Your Discharge Planning Checklist (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) - PDF
Videos and Tutorials
- What Does Long-Term Care Include? (Administration on Aging)
Statistics and Research
- FastStats: Nursing Home Care (National Center for Health Statistics)
- National Nursing Home Survey (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Residents Living in Residential Care Facilities: United States, 2010 (National Center for Health Statistics)
- Use of Electronic Health Records in Residential Care Communities (National Center for Health Statistics)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Aged Care Complaints Commissioner assumes control.
- Article: Achieving person-centredness with older people in residential aged care.
- Article: Asian and native Hawaiian family caregiver satisfaction with palliative care...
- Nursing Homes -- see more articles
- Long term care -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- AAAs (Area Agencies on Aging) & Title VI Aging Programs (National Association of Area Agencies on Aging)
- Administration on Aging
- Find a Nursing Home (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) Available in Spanish
- Find and Compare Doctors, Plans, Hospitals, Suppliers and Other Providers (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) Available in Spanish
- Locate an Ombudsman (National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care)
- National Institute on Aging Available in Spanish