Skilled nursing facilities should have a sense of community—where residents can feel comfortable, find familiar faces, and build relationships just like they enjoyed in their own homes. By planning ahead, you can ensure that your loved one will be provided with the highest quality of care and quality of life.
The following questions may guide you in evaluating nursing facilities throughout your selection process. Remember, each resident, young, elderly, ambulatory, bedridden, or disabled, has different needs, preferences, and desires that should be taken into account in the selection of a facility. Consider these questions with your loved one in mind.
- 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 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.
- 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 secured?
- What are the accommodations for residents having a private telephone?
- What is the policy for decorating rooms with personal items?
- Observe mealtime at the facility. How is the menu managed weekly and monthly? Ask to have the dining procedures explained to you.
- 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?
- How 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?
- What other medical professionals, and specialists (dentists, podiatrists, optometrists) provide regular services?
- Will a bed be available after hospitalization?
- How are prescription drugs ordered?
- Are therapy programs provided (physical, occupational, speech pathologist or therapist)?
- How is the restorative therapy run?
- Are all 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?
- When are restraining devices recommended and why?
- Does the facility have a Resident Council?
- Does the facility have a Family Council in which you can participate?
Licensure and Certification
- Is the latest state survey report available for review?
- Does the facility have a formal quality assurance program?
Finally, consider your role in all of this. If you are helping to select a long term care facility for your loved one, are you:
- Involving your loved one in the process?
- Prepared to ease their transition to the nursing facility by being with them on admission day and staying several hours to get them settled?
- Ready to visit frequently and encourage friends to make similar visits?
The following websites may be helpful.