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Checklist for Nursing Home Safety

What Should You Look for When Choosing a Nursing Home?

elderly woman being taken care of by a nurse

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?

What Questions Should You Ask When Choosing a Nursing Home?

  • 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.