Assessing Nursing Home Facilities


It is vital for your family member that you spend a considerable amount of time researching the nursing home before you send him or her to one. Do not judge the nursing home on the basis of a guided tour or the nice furniture or attractive physical features of the facility.

Click on the topics above for tips on assessing nursing homes and to obtain information about other types of nursing care facilities.

Visit with residents

You should find at least one resident whom you can visit in the facility. This will help you in evaluating the facility without a guided tour. Walk up and down the halls and talk to bedridden residents and those who are wheelchair bound. As you talk to them, check out their grooming, skin quality, nail care and oral care. See if the residents appear upbeat or if they are depressed. If almost everyone you talk to is confused and unable to have a normal conversation, this could be cause for concern.

Assisted living facilities

Assisted living offers a wide range of services with a wide range of monthly fees. If your loved one needs assistance getting through the day, but doesn’t require the intensive supervision and medical services of a nursing home, assisted living may be a better option. Take the time and investigate state agencies which may assist with payment for assisted living facilities.

Services, staffing, and philosophy of this type of housing vary enormously. It is very important that you determine exactly what is offered in each home. Look for a place that encourages residents to be active. People who have been loners all their lives are unlikely to adapt well to congregate living, and a mentally alert person doesn’t belong in a small home with cognitively impaired people. Make sure the person is suited to assisted living.

If you disagree with certain provisions in the admission contract, see if you can modify or eliminate them. Contracts should allow for a minimum of 30 days notice if the facility desires to end the agreement. You should know who makes the decision regarding transfers when a resident’s health declines. Remember, assisted living facilities are not immune from the same problems facing nursing homes, particularly the difficulty of keeping a stable staff.


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