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One of the most significant and trying times in the life of any family is the decision to enter a loved one into a nursing home. Yet this is a situation which so many of our families face as time goes on.

As you or someone that you love begins this transition, you will likely have questions – on everything from how to manage day-to-day routines to how to continue participating in life-long interests and activities. Even in the best of cases, issues may come up that can sometimes be difficult for residents, families, and nursing home staff to anticipate and address.

Cover of Nursing Home GuideFor some years now, the Department of Public Health has made available an online, downloadable guidebook to help patient, caregivers, and their families address these concerns with prospective and current long-term care providers. Recently we’ve taken steps to rewrite and redesign this online resource to make it even easier to use by individuals and families when they need help.

A Guide to Nursing Home Care: Important Questions That Residents and Families Often Ask provides answers to a wide range of important, commonly asked questions including “Who can receive information and make decisions about me?” and “Who is allowed to see my medical records?”

What’s more, the brochure contains an easy-to-use Consumer Checklist which contains each of the documents and regulations which you should be aware of – whether you’re a nursing home resident or a family member – such as a Resident Rights Brochure, your Family Council Rights and a Health Care Proxy Form.

The newly redesigned brochure was developed by DPH in partnership with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, Leading Age Massachusetts, nursing home resident advocates, and legislators.

The guide is available on our website in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Haitian Creole.

Written By:


Commissioner of the Department of Public Health

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