Nursing Home Touring Tips

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Nursing Home Touring Tips

When calling or visiting a prospective nursing home, be ready to ask questions to find out about their staff, policies and personal services. This checklist can help to ensure that you ask the necessary questions, and make it easy to compare nursing homes.

About the nursing home:

  • Is the nursing home close to a hospital, family, and friends, and near transportation, shopping and parks?


  • What is the Medicare.gov rating for this nursing home?


  • Are there rooms available that fit your need for rehabilitation or long-term care?


  • If there is a waiting list? How does it work?


  • Is the general atmosphere of the environment pleasant, clean, odor-free, inviting and well-maintained?


  • Do residents appear to be content and well cared for?


  • Does the staff seem friendly, helpful and responsive?


  • Are there criminal background checks on all staff?


  • Does the nursing home verify all of the licensing/certification requirements before hiring staff?


  • Is there in-service training and continuing education for all care staff?


  • Is there a sign posted listing the long-term care ombudsman's office and telephone number?


About staff and professional services:

  • Who are the physicians affiliated with this facility?


  • Do residents have to change their physician upon admission to the facility?


  • What treatments/therapies are available for my loved one's condition/diagnosis?


  • Do health care professionals visit the facility to provide services to residents? (e.g., dentist, lab assistance, podiatrist, physical therapist)?


  • Are there other non-healthcare related services available on the premises (e.g., barber, beauty shop, convenience store, and banking services)?


  • Does the facility help with activities of daily living (e.g., grooming, dressing and bathing)?


  • Does the facility offer a specialized Alzheimer's/dementia care program?


  • Does the facility offer three daily meals and snacks?


  • Can the facility accommodate special diets?


  • Is there a dietician on staff?


  • Is transportation to medical appointments or local stores available?


  • Are there support services available for families (e.g., counseling, care planning and support groups)?


  • Do the residents have a choice of activities?


  • Is there a designated activities director or department?


  • Do the activities seem appropriate for the residents?


  • Is exercise offered daily?  Is there a rehab aide available for exercise?


About the building and personal services:

  • Does the nursing home have private rooms? Is there an extra cost to the room?


  • Can residents bring their own furniture?


  • Are the halls clear of obstacles, and well-lighted?


  • Are the residents offered choices for food at mealtimes?


  • Will residents receive assistance with eating and drinking if needed?


  • Does the nursing home offer communal and private dining?


  • Do the lounge areas appear comfortable and inviting?


  • Is there an outside patio or balcony for residents?


  • Are there specific visiting hours or other restrictions?


  • Does the nursing home have smoke detectors, sprinklers and an emergency evacuation plan?


  • How are residents prevented from exiting safe areas if that is part of their care plan?


  • Does each resident have easy access to an emergency call button?


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