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.
- Are most residents dressed for the season and time of day?
- Do residents appear to enjoy being with staff?
- Do staff members know residents by name?
- Is the staff quick to respond to a resident's call for assistance?
- Are the activities tailored to each resident's individual needs and interests?
- Are residents involved in a variety of activities?
- Does the home serve food attractively?
- Does the home consider personal food likes and dislikes in planning meals?
- Does the home consider resident's personal wants and needs when selecting roommates?
- Does the home have residents' council? If so, does the council influence decisions about resident life?
- Does the home have a family council? If so, does the council influence decisions about resident life?
- Does the facility make use of community programs such as pet therapy programs and Scouts?
Look at the physical environment of the home.
- Is the outside of the home clean and in good repair?
- Are there outdoor areas for residents to use?
- Is the inside of the home clean and in good repair?
- Does the home have handrails in the hallways and grab bars in the bathrooms?
- When floors are being cleaned, are warning signs displayed, or are the areas blocked off to prevent accidents?
- Is the nursing home free from unpleasant odors?
- Are noise levels appropriate to the activities that are going on?
- Are toilets convenient to bedrooms?
- Is it easy for residents in wheelchairs to move around the home?
- Is the lighting appropriate for what residents are doing?
- Are there private areas for residents to visit with family, visitors, physicians?
- Are residents' bedrooms pleasantly furnished?
- Do the residents have some personal items in their bedrooms (family pictures, souvenirs, chair)?
- Do the resident's rooms have accessible storage areas for residents' personal items?
Look at the care residents receive.
- Do various staff and professional experts participate in evaluating each resident's needs and interests?
- Do the resident and/or his or her family participate in developing the resident's care plan?
- Does the facility offer programs to restore lost physical functioning (example, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy)?
- 4. Does the home have special services to meet your needs, such as, special care units for residents with dementia or with respiratory problems?
- Does the home have a program to restrict use of restraints?
- Is a registered nurse available for nursing staff?
- Does the home have an arrangement with a nearby hospital?
What are the nursing home's payment arrangements?
- Is the facility certified for Medicare?
- Is the facility certified for Medicaid?
- Is the resident's family informed when charges are increased?
Other things to look for:
- Does the nursing home have a good reputation in the community?
- Does the nursing home have a list of references?
- Is the nursing home convenient for family and friends to visit?
- Does the local ombudsman visit the home regularly?
What do I do next?