Choosing a nursing home facility for a loved one is an emotional and daunting challenge, but reliable information always helps. Family members armed with a list of observations and what to ask administrators make better decisions. Let’s start with observations.
When entering the nursing home:
- Are there handrails along the walls?
- Are the doorways wheelchair-accessible?
- Is the floor dry and free of litter?
- Does the facility appear clean?
- Is there any pervasive odor, apart from disinfectant?
- Is the temperature comfortable?
- Do the toilets, faucets, call buttons, telephones, and television sets work?
Take a look at the nursing home staff:
- Is the overall sense of the home pleasant?
- Does staff seem to enjoy their work with patients?
- Are residents called by name and treated as individuals?
- Are the staff uniforms clean and their personal appearance maintained?
Observe the patients and the services:
- Are there other residents who appear to have similar conditions to your relative?
- Are the patients kept clean with appropriate dress?
- Is the food nutritious, edible and hot?
- Are patients’ calls quickly and respectfully answered?
- Is there plentiful and accessible drinking water available?
- Is the schedule of activities posted, varied and do the patients actually attend and participate?
Questions to ask administrators:
- Is the facility in good standing with state inspectors?
- Are the fees competitive and have they increased significantly over time?
- Is the fee structure easy to understand and explain?
- Is Medicaid and/or Medicare accepted?
- Does a resident council exist?
- Are visiting hours reasonable?
- Do any community organizations work within the facility, like houses of worship or high schools?
Choose a nursing home wisely. However, if a loved one or family member is suffering from neglect or abuse in a nursing facility, immediately seek professional assistance from experienced attorneys who know how to act quickly to prevent further harm.