Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

Choosing a long-term care setting: How to start
See other sections for "Choosing a Long-term Care Setting":


It is usually beneficial to plan ahead when making a decision as important as where you will live and who will provide the care you need. However, if you must select a care setting with little notice - during a crisis or serious illness, this site will also provide you valuable information to help you make an informed choice.

Consider personal and health care needs

  • Honestly assess your physical status and health care needs.
  • What do you need help with right now?
  • Will your needs change in the future?
    • Improve with proper care, or
    • Worsen due to a health condition beyond your control?

Review the various care settings

Consider cost vs. ability to pay


  • Long term care facilities are private businesses that set their own prices.
  • The cost of your care will vary depending on whether you are paying privately, have private insurance or are receiving Medicaid or Medicare assistance.
  • Federal and State governments do not regulate the price of long term care. However, the Federal government does set the rate it will pay for Medicare services, and the State of Oregon sets the rate it will pay for Medicaid services.

Ability to pay

Social and other important things to consider

  • Do you have family and friends that you want to be near?
  • Are you involved in church or community activities that you will need transportation to?
  • What support systems or social activities do you want to maintain? Are these available inside the care setting? Can they be accessed easily outside the care setting?
  • If you are helping someone who needs care outside their home, keep them involved as much as possible. A move away from familiar surroundings can be very difficult, Their wishes should be respected. If the person you are helping is not alert or able to communicate well, keep his or her values and preferences in mind.

Consider the quality of care at a long-term care facility

  • Research your options by contacting the DHS or Area Agency on Aging local office and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program at (800) 522-2602.
    • Ask about the facility or home that you are considering.
    • What is their complaint history?
    • Are there any "red flags" that suggest that you should take a closer look or consider other options?
  • Visit several facilities to compare services and costs.
  • Talk with people you trust, particularly someone who may have a family member or friend who has moved to a care setting.

  • Use these forms:
  • Talk with residents that live in the facilities your are considering. Ask about the staff, services and food.
  • If you are considering a nursing facility that provides Medicare/Medicaid services, read its latest survey (inspection) report which should be posted at the facility, ask to see it. You can also see these survey results on the Federal web site: Nursing Home Compare.
  • If you are considering an assisted living facility or a residential care facility that provides Medicare/Medicaid services, read its latest survey (inspection) report which should be posted at the facility, ask to see it.

 Locate a long term care facility