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Questions to ask a long term care facility

The Jewish Pavilion is a 501c3 charity that orchestrates a vast network of over 400 volunteers who visit seniors in independent, assisted and skilled nursing facilities and provide Sabbath and holiday festivities, musical programs, intergenerational events, and other events that stimulate and entertain the elderly population.

“Senior facilities should try to be like a 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.”

When selecting a facility here are some of the things family members should examine:



  • Visitors are important! Is the facility conveniently located for frequent visits from family and friends?



  • Is the atmosphere welcoming and attractive?

  • Staff

  • Observe staff interactions with residents. Do caregivers show respect and a positive attitude toward residents and others?



  • How often do you have outside entertainers come in?

  • Look over the activity calendar for the week or month and ask about the programs available.

  • Are residents encouraged to participate?

  • What kind of musical entertainment is there? Outside performers? Piano in facility? Music played in hallways or activity room?

  • General Info

  • What is the majority language spoken? By Residents? By Staff?

  • Is there a welcoming committee or buddy system?



  • Are religious services held on the premises?

  • What individualized arrangements can be made for residents to worship?

  • Are they Affiliated with the Jewish Pavilion?




  • Ask to visit a typical room. Does the living space suit the needs of the resident?

  • How are roommates selected?

  • How are private items stored or secured?

  • What is the policy for residents having a private telephone? — What is the policy for decorating rooms with personal items?



  • What arrangements will be made if residents are unable to eat in the dining room?

  • Do you assign Dining Room seats? Can assignments be changed?

  • What is the practice for special dining or menu requests?

  • Are snacks provided?

  • Are private dining areas available when family and friends are visiting?

  • Observe mealtime at the facility. How is the menu managed weekly and monthly? Ask to have the dining procedures explained to you.


Care planning


  • 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?

  • Are on-site Hospice services available?

  • What special programs (Alzheimer’s, AIDS, subacute care) does the facility offer?

  • Do the residents look clean and well cared for? Is there food stains on their clothes?




  • Are other medical professionals (dentists, podiatrists, optometrists) available? When are they in the building? Daily? What days and times do they work?

  • Does the facility have an arrangement with a nearby hospital?

  • Will a bed be available after hospitalization?

  • How are prescription drugs ordered? How are they administered? Patient? Staff?

  • Are therapy programs provided (physical, occupational, speech pathologist)?

  • Do you offer a concierge service for Doctor Appointments?

  • Transportation to Doctors?  What is the radius?




  • Are all services the resident requires covered in the basic charge?

  • What other charges can be anticipated?

  • 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.)


Patient Rights/Autonomy


  • 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

  • If needed by the resident, is the facility certified to provide Medicare and/or Medicaid coverage?

  • Is the latest state survey report available for review?

  • Does the facility have a formal quality assurance program?


Your Role


  • If you are helping to select a long term care facility for a loved one, are you:

  • Involving this person in the process?

  • Prepared to ease the resident’s transition to the nursing facility by being with them on admission day and staying several hours to get them settled?

  • Ready to visit the resident frequently and encourage friends to make similar visits?

  • Prepared to discover facility offerings & resources to enrich your loved ones experiences?

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