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Nursing Home Checklist

When visiting a nursing home for either yourself or a loved one, take this checklist with you to help you make comparisons between different homes. Make sure to compare nursing homes in the same category—for example, compare a skilled nursing facility to another skilled nursing facility.

Consider the daily life of the residents.

  1. Are most residents dressed for the season and time of day?
  2. Do residents appear to enjoy being with staff?
  3. Do staff members know residents by name?
  4. Is the staff quick to respond to a resident's call for assistance?
  5. Are the activities tailored to each resident's individual needs and interests?
  6. Are residents involved in a variety of activities?
  7. Does the home serve food attractively?
  8. Does the home consider personal food likes and dislikes in planning meals?
  9. Does the home consider resident's personal wants and needs when selecting roommates?
  10. Does the home have residents' council? If so, does the council influence decisions about resident life?
  11. Does the home have a family council? If so, does the council influence decisions about resident life?
  12. Does the facility make use of community programs such as pet therapy programs and Scouts?

Look at the physical environment of the home.

  1. Is the outside of the home clean and in good repair?
  2. Are there outdoor areas for residents to use?
  3. Is the inside of the home clean and in good repair?
  4. Does the home have handrails in the hallways and grab bars in the bathrooms?
  5. When floors are being cleaned, are warning signs displayed, or are the areas blocked off to prevent accidents?
  6. Is the nursing home free from unpleasant odors?
  7. Are noise levels appropriate to the activities that are going on?
  8. Are toilets convenient to bedrooms?
  9. Is it easy for residents in wheelchairs to move around the home?
  10. Is the lighting appropriate for what residents are doing?
  11. Are there private areas for residents to visit with family, visitors, physicians?
  12. Are residents' bedrooms pleasantly furnished?
  13. Do the residents have some personal items in their bedrooms (family pictures, souvenirs, chair)?
  14. Do the resident's rooms have accessible storage areas for residents' personal items?

Look at the care residents receive.

  1. Do various staff and professional experts participate in evaluating each resident's needs and interests?
  2. Do the resident and/or his or her family participate in developing the resident's care plan?
  3. Does the facility offer programs to restore lost physical functioning (example, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy)?
  4. 4. Does the home have special services to meet your needs, such as, special care units for residents with dementia or with respiratory problems?
  5. Does the home have a program to restrict use of restraints?
  6. Is a registered nurse available for nursing staff?
  7. Does the home have an arrangement with a nearby hospital?

What are the nursing home's payment arrangements?

  1. Is the facility certified for Medicare?
  2. Is the facility certified for Medicaid?
  3. Is the resident's family informed when charges are increased?

Other things to look for:

  1. Does the nursing home have a good reputation in the community?
  2. Does the nursing home have a list of references?
  3. Is the nursing home convenient for family and friends to visit?
  4. Does the local ombudsman visit the home regularly?

What do I do next?