Carer with her hands around a resident

Choosing a Nursing Home

Choosing a Nursing Home

The move to nursing home care understandably brings with it some trepidation. It’s important to realise that nursing homes are simply a ‘home from home’ that employ specialist, caring staff to support you in your daily living requirements and enable you live a fulfilling life within a friendly, community environment.

Your move to a nursing home will ensure you are provided with the specialist care and support suited to your daily living requirements. Meeting your care requirements will be a dedicated, committed and caring team. They will implement a care plan designed around your health and general needs. While excellent levels of care are provided, it is important to consider which home will best suit your daily living and healthcare requirements.

You have the right to choose where you wish to live. Resident choice is enshrined in the legislation governing the Nursing Home Support Scheme, commonly known as Fair Deal. It is the state support mechanism that has been designed to make nursing home care affordable. Once an applicant is approved under the scheme, it’s their choice as to which home they want to live in.

Ideal Attributes

Choosing a nursing home is an important decision. Before you start to examine the range of nursing homes available to you, it’s a good idea to make a list of the ideal attributes you want from the nursing home. If you are assisting someone to move into a nursing home, involve them in making the decision as much as possible. If they are not able to communicate, it is important to bear their values and preferences in mind.

The attributes that are worth considering include the atmosphere and religious outlook, the food and recreational activities and any special needs and preferences you or your relative might have.

How to choose

  1. Find out what nursing homes are in your area. Our interactive map of NHI members will help you.
  2. Create a shortlist based on the quality of care provided and comparisons with your ‘ideal attributes’
  3. Arrange a visit to the nursing home(s) that most interest you. There is no substitute for seeing a place for real. Please note that nursing homes are busy places and primarily focussed on the care of their residents, so it is advisable to make an appointment beforehand.

When visiting the nursing home, you should:

  • Take a formal tour with the Director of Nursing or designated deputy.
  • Ask questions. This is your decision and you should have all the information you need to make it.
  • Look around to get a better picture of the services, activities and quality of care for the residents.

Questions to consider

While you are carrying out your research and when you are visiting the nursing home(s), there are some issues worth considering for the wellbeing of you or your relative:

  • Is the nursing home close to family and friends so they can visit often?
  • Is the nursing home close to shops, clubs, church or other events/places you may wish to continue using?
  • Are you able to bring personal possessions/ furniture from home?
  • Does the nursing home have a regular schedule of activities for you to participate in?
  • How are residents and families encouraged to participate in developing their care plan?

Health Information & Quality Authority (HIQA)

Nursing homes are subject to strict regulation which is the subject of independent inspection by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA). HIQA publishes details of its inspection reports for individual nursing homes. The reports provide information to the public on what it is like to live in the centre and whether a centre provides consistently good care. The reports can be downloaded from the HIQA website –


Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) Publications

NHI has published a wide range of articles and booklets to help you choose. They include the following:


If you require any more information, we are happy to assist you. Just call us on 01 469 9800 or email us at [email protected]