Make an unannounced visit to the prospective nursing homes. Get a sense if both the residents and staff enjoy being there.
Consider costs and resources. What pay types are accepted: Medicaid, Medicare, insurance, private funds?
Check for licensing, certification, and the state survey inspection. A good home may be cited for deficiencies, but they should be minor and promptly fixed.
Ask specific questions no matter how small. Remember, every detail counts when it concerns your loved ones.
Ask about services provided. Inquire about therapy, activities, food services, etc.
Observe communication between staff members. Are they talking to each other? Do they appear to be happy?
Look, Listen, and Smell. There should be no persistent odor or overwhelming scent of air freshness.