Comparing Nursing Homes
Checklist is Crucial When Comparing Homes
When considering placement in a nursing home, it's a good idea to visit various homes. Most nursing homes will arrange for a guided tour.
Ideally, you should visit the home more than once, at different times of the day. Make an appointment to see the administrator or admissions director to explain the purpose of your visit. Mention that you'd like to watch the daily routine and observe as many resident activities as possible. During your visit, talk with residents and staff.
When you visit, bring along a checklist. Below is an abbreviated list of questions to ask. For a complete list of question, call the Advocacy Center for Long-Term Care at 612.854.7360.
Before Visiting a Home
- What kind of care do I need and what is the lifestyle that I want to lead in a facility?
- Am I able to wait for a few weeks or even months if a facility has a waiting list?
- Would the home be close to family members and friends? Is it near other community contacts and resources I hope to continue to see and use?
Look at the Daily Life
- Do residents seem to enjoy being with staff?
- Does staff know the residents by name?
- Does staff respond quickly to resident calls for assistance?
- Are activities tailored to residents' individual needs and interests? Are residents involved in a variety of activities?
- Does the home consider personal food likes and dislikes in planning meals?
- Does the facility have contact with community groups such as pet therapy and scouts?
- Does it have a resident council or family council? If it does, does the council influence decisions about resident life?
Look at the Care
- Do staff and professional experts participate in evaluating each resident's needs and interests?
- Does the resident or his or her family participate in developing the resident's care plan?
- Is a registered nurse available for staff?
- Does the home offer programs to restore lost physical functioning (for example, physical, occupational, speech and language therapy)?
- Does it have any special services that meet your needs? For example, special care units for residents with dementia or respiratory problems?
- Does it have a program restricting the use of physical restraints?
- Does the nursing home have an arrangement with a nearby hospital?
- Is the facility certified for Medicare and/or for Medical Assistance?
Look at the Environment
- Are the inside and outside of the nursing home clean and in good repair?
- Are outdoor areas accessible to residents?
- Is it easy for residents in wheelchairs to move around the home?
- Are residents' bedrooms furnished in a pleasant manner and do they have some personal items as well as accessible storage space?
Source: Consumer Guide: Choosing a Nursing Home, Good Age Newspaper.