IHCA offers tips for finding long-term care for a loved one

Selecting a long-term care option for a loved one is without a doubt one of the most difficult decisions a family will make. How do you know if you are selecting the right care option to meet their needs? Once you decide on an option, how do you know for sure they are getting the care you expect?

The Iowa Health Care Association (IHCA), a trade association that works with Iowa’s long-term care providers, offers these tips for selecting a long-term care provider and monitoring ongoing care.

When choosing a care option:  

Know the type of care you need – There are many care options available, including home care, assisted living programs and skilled nursing facilities, to name a few. ( provides a summary of each option to help with selecting one to meet your care needs.

Research potential providers – IHCA offers a Provider Finder tool on its website (, where you can search for providers by type of care provided and location. Nursing Home Compare ( is another website tool where you can compare Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes on quality measures, staffing and health inspection results.
Ask for referrals – Ask family, friends, co-workers or neighbors about their experiences with the long-term care facilities, and to offer recommendations.

Visit the facility – Before making a final decision, make a personal visit to the facility. Ask for a tour. Visit with staff and residents. Ask questions to help determine if the facility is a good match. Not sure what questions to ask? and both offer a list of questions to consider.  

After making a selection:

Review your loved one’s rights – Long-term care facilities are required to educate their residents and their residents’ families regarding their Residents’ Bill of Rights, established by federal law. You can also view this bill of rights on the Iowa Department of Aging website (

Stay involved – Visit often and communicate with your care provider regularly. The care needs for your loved one can change over time, so it is important to stay involved and aware of their needs. Also, if at any time you have concerns about your loved one’s care, document and report your concerns immediately to the provider.

Know your resources – The Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman is also a valuable resource. The ombudsman office in an independent entity that can help if you need additional assistance in seeking resolutions with your care provider. You can find them online at   

About the Iowa Health Care Association
The Iowa Health Care Association (IHCA) and its divisions, Iowa Center for Assisted Living (ICAL) and Iowa Center for Home Care (ICHC) represent organizations that provide long-term care to Iowans through nursing facilities, assisted living, residential care, senior living communities and home health agencies.