Questions To Think About
The following questions may guide you in evaluating nursing facilities throughout your selection process. Remember, each resident has different needs, preferences, and desires that should be taken into account in the selection of a facility.
Visitors are important! Is the facility conveniently located for frequent visits from family and friends?
Is the atmosphere welcoming and attractive?
Observe staff interactions with the residents. Do caregivers show respect and a positive attitude toward residents and others?
Look over the activity calendar for the week or month and ask about the programs available. How are residents encouraged to participate?
Are religious services held on the premises? What individualized arrangements can be made for residents to worship?
Ask to visit a typical room.
- Does the living space suit the needs of the resident?
- How are roommates selected?
- How are private items stored or secured?
- What is the policy for residents having a private telephone?
- What is the policy for decorating rooms with personal items?
Observe mealtime at the facility.
Ask to have the dining procedures explained to you.
- How is the menu managed weekly and monthly?
- What arrangements will be made if residents are unable to eat in the dining room?
- What is the practice for special dining or menu requests?
- Are snacks provided?
- Are private dining areas available when family and friends are visiting?
- Are residents and families encouraged to participate in developing their care plan?
- Does the facility provide services for terminally ill residents and their families?
- What special programs (Alzheimer's, AIDS, subacute care) does the facility offer?
- Are other medical professionals (dentists, podiatrists, optometrists) available?
- Does the facility have an arrangement with a nearby hospital?
- Will a bed be available after hospitalization?
- How are prescription drugs ordered?
- Are therapy programs provided (physical, occupational, speech pathologist)?
- Are all the services the resident requires covered in the basic charge?
- Request a list of specific services not covered in the basic rate. (Some facilities have schedules covering therapies, beautician services, barbers, specialty foods, personal laundry, etc.)
- What are the patient's rights and responsibilities?
- Does the facility have a Resident Council?
- Does the facility have a Family Council in which you can participate?
Licensure and Certification
Ask to see the latest inspection report and ask a facility representative to answer any questions you may have.
- If needed by the resident, is the facility certified to provide Medicare and/or Medicaid coverage?
- Does the facility have a formal quality assurance program?
If you are helping to select a long-term care facility for a loved one, are you:
- Involving this person in the process?
- Prepared to ease the resident's transition to the nursing facility by being with them on admission day and staying several hours to get them settled?
- Ready to visit the resident frequently and encourage friends to make similar visits?