The physical environment of many nursing homes may be very appealing – such as clean floors and newly painted walls.  However, this is the easiest thing to fix and also the least important. 

It’s the care that a resident will get that is by far the most important.  High quality care comes from a good and caring staff.  The problem is that a nursing home worker’s resume and employment application are not readily available to the public. 

That is what makes this recent article from AARP,, all the more disturbing

According to the article, 92% of nursing homes employed at least one individual with a criminal conviction.  Additionally, the type of background check done is dependent on the state.  The article reports that in “2006, Centers for Medicare& Medicaid Services began an 18-month (April 06 – Sep 07) pilot program of comprehensive criminal background checks of prospective nursing home employees in seven states. The pilot program resulted in the disqualification of 7,463 applicants.”

Knowing the right questions to ask at admission is important.  While it’s nice to have a newly renovated or newly constructed nursing home, it’s the quality of the staff that’s most important.