Our “Nursing Home Checklist” will help you find a skilled nursing facility that will provide a wide range of health and personal care services for you or your loved one.
Choosing a nursing home is one of the hardest decisions we must make for ourselves and our loved ones. The fact that we need to move to a nursing home means that someone is in a vulnerable position and will be dependent on the facility.
Moving to a nursing home can significantly change our lives or our elderly loved ones.
If your loved one is mentally alert and can make choices, be considerate and ask them their wishes. It is very important to acknowledge their opinion in the decision process; however, if they cannot decide due to some impairments, you will need to decide on your own what is best for them.
Use this nursing home checklist as a guide while you visit several nursing homes.
Print this checklist for every facility you visit to record the answers you receive from administrators. Take great notes about your feelings and observations, then compare the lists to help you choose the best nursing suited to your loved one’s needs.
FOR EASIER NAVIGATION:
- Choosing a Nursing Home Checklist
- Things to Consider When Choosing A Nursing Home
- Steps to Choosing the Right Nursing Home
- How Can Funeral Funds Help Me?
- Additional Questions & Answers On Nursing Home Checklist
Choosing A Nursing Home Checklist
Here are some things to ask when selecting a nursing home. Make sure you ask detailed questions during your visit or consultation. If possible, bring a relative or a trusted friend to get a second opinion.
Name of Nursing Home: _______________________________________
Phone Number: ________________________________________________
Date of Visit: ___________________________________________________
- Is the Nursing Home Medicare-certified?
- Is the Nursing Home Medicaid certified?
- What are the nursing home’s star ratings on Medicare.gov?
- Is the nursing home’s current administrator licensed in your state?
- Is the nursing home’s location close enough for friends and family to visit?
- Is the nursing home accepting new residents?
- Is there a waiting list for new residents? How long does it take to get admitted?
- Do they have an available bed?
- How many residents does the facility have?
- Does the nursing home offer physical therapy, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, or other rehabilitative services on-site?
- Do they offer specialized services, like a special care unit for ventilator care or a special unit for residents with dementia?
- Does the nursing home provide religious or spiritual services programs?
- Are there specific resident policies that must be followed?
- Does the facility have a written copy of these policies?
- What are the admission and discharge policies?
- Who decides the type of care each resident need and receive?
- How is medical care determined?
- Are there doctors who come to the nursing home, or do residents keep their doctors?
- Can residents still see their personal doctors?
- If needed, does the nursing home help arrange transportation for this purpose?
- Does the facility arrange transportation to medical appointments, or does the family assist with that?
- How will the resident’s family know that a different level of care is needed for their loved one?
- Does the nursing home facility have an arrangement with a nearby hospital?
- How does the facility handle medical emergencies?
- How are non-emergency medical situations like falls handled by the nursing home?
- How do the nursing home schedule visits from physical therapists, occupational therapists, medical specialists, and physicians?
- Does the staff have specialized training to deal with dementia or Alzheimer’s?
- Is there a special unit or program for dementia or Alzheimer’s residents?
- How does the staff handle problems like disorientation, agitation, and wandering?
- How are prescriptions filled and refilled?
- How is medication disbursed?
- How are medications managed?
- What is the visiting policy?
- Does the facility have specific policies and procedures regarding the care of residents with dementia?
- Do they use nonmedication-based approaches as a first attempt to respond to behavioral symptoms?
- What percentage of residents diagnosed with dementia use antipsychotic medication?
- What’s the facility’s current rate of antipsychotic medication use?
- Does the facility participate in any efforts to reduce antipsychotic medication like the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Center?
- What kind of certification does the nursing home staff have?
- Is there sufficient staff available on a 24-hour basis?
- How many registered nurses work in the facility on each shift?
- Is there a licensed nursing staff available 24 hours a day?
- Are there Registered Nurse present at least 8 hours per day, seven days a week?
- Do Certified Nurse Aides help in planning the care of residents?
- How many staff are assigned during the weekdays? Weekends? Evenings?
- Does the facility have a training and continuing education program for all staff?
- Do staff members wear nametags?
- Do residents have the same caregivers daily?
- How do the staff speak and interact with the residents? Are they friendly and kind?
- Does the relationship between residents and staff warm, polite, and respectful?
- Is the staff respectful of residents’ privacy?
- Do the staff close the door when helping residents bathe and get dressed?
- Do the staff knock on the resident’s door before entering their room?
- Do staff refer to residents by name?
- Is there staff to meet residents’ social service needs?
- Will the staff call the doctor if the residents have a medical need?
- Is an interpreter or another system in place to help residents who speak another language?
- Does the administrative staff have a turnover in the past year?
- What is the turnover rate on the administrative?
- What is the resident-to-staff ratio at the nursing home?
- Are residents clean, well-groomed, and appropriately dressed for the season or time of day?
- Does the nursing home perform a background check on employees to ensure no history of abuse or mistreatment of
- residents in the state nurse aid registry?
- Are employees required to complete any kind of continuing education or ongoing training?
- Does the facility offer an abuse prevention training program for employees?
- Does the nursing home have policies prohibiting abuse and neglect?
- Is the nursing home keeping the residents safe from abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or exploitation from staff?
- Are there information and policies about reporting concerns about residents’ care and safety?
- How does the facility respond to concerns that are reported?
- Has the nursing home been cited for abuse and mistreatment in the last year or two? How do they fix the problem?
NURSING HOME APPEARANCE
- Does the nursing home facility appear clean and well-kept?
- Is the nursing home free from unpleasant odors?
- Does the nursing home have good lighting?
- Is the temperature in the whole facility comfortable for residents?
- Are there quiet areas in the nursing home where residents can visit with family and friends?
- Are the noise levels comfortable in the dining room and other common areas?
- Are the furniture and fixtures sturdy yet comfortable and attractive?
- Does the nursing home have handrails in the hallways, rooms, and bathrooms?
- Is it easy to get from the room to the common area and dining room?
- Are the resident room, doorways, and common areas designed for wheelchairs?
- Do the hallways and bathrooms have handrails and grab bars?
- Are exits clearly marked in the nursing home?
- Does the facility have smoke detectors and sprinklers?
- Are there generators on-site in case of weather-related or electrical emergencies?
- Is there a secure outdoor area?
- Do they have emergency procedures for residents?
- Where will the residents be placed if the local government declares a mandatory evacuation due to an emergency?
- Are there recent changes made to the facility? Why were they made? Are any future improvements being considered?
- How many residents are there in one room?
- If a resident shares a room, will she be able to choose a roommate?
- Does the nursing home have policies and procedures to protect residents’ possessions, including lockable cabinets and closets?
- What are the things allowed when moving in?
- Can residents bring personal belongings and furniture into their rooms?
- Is there a closet or storage space available with locks?
- Do the residents have access to the internet, a television, and a phone? Is there an extra fee for these services?
- Do the bedrooms have a window?
FOODS & MENUS
- Do residents have a choice of different food items at each meal? Do they serve appetizing foods?
- Can residents get timely assistance if they need help with eating?
- Can the kitchen accommodate residents with religious or medical dietary needs (like low-salt or no-sugar-added diets)?
- Can residents eat in their rooms rather than in the dining room?
- Are snacks offered throughout the day?
- Are nutritious snacks available?
- Do the residents choose what time to get up, go to sleep, or bathe?
- Does the nursing home have outdoor spaces for residents’ use?
- Is there staff available to help residents go outside?
- Do residents help plan the available activities?
- Can residents (including those who cannot leave their rooms) participate in various activities?
- Does the nursing home facility offer religious or cultural support to residents? If not, what arrangements will make to provide for these needs?
- Does the nursing home facility have an active volunteer program?
- Can you have visitors at any time – even in early or late hours?
- Does the nursing home allow residents to leave the facility for a few hours or days if they choose to do so? What are the procedures for leaving?
- What services are covered by the nursing home, and how much do they cost? Are payment plans all-inclusive or tiered?
- How does the nursing home bill its residents? Is it a monthly paper bill, or do they accept electronic payments?
- Are there extra charges for services, like beauty shop or laundry services?
- Will the nursing home provide the cost of services, charges, and fees in writing?
Things To Consider When Choosing A Nursing Home
Location is one of the most important considerations when selecting a nursing home. You must choose a nursing home close to your home so that you and your family can visit frequently.
Different nursing homes provide different services and provide different levels of health care. You will need to identify the level of care your loved one needs to choose the nursing home that fits their needs.
Try to visit the nursing home during meal times to see the meals and menu. The dining experience will make a big difference in the satisfaction of nursing home residents.
Check if the facility provides specialized health care services, depending on the resident’s needs. Does the nursing home have a specialized unit to care for dementia patients? If your loved ones need rehabilitation, having an on-site rehabilitation unit would be best.
Observe the nursing home staff because they will be the ones to ensure your loved one’s health and safety. When choosing a nursing home, the staff’s attitude and professionalism should be on your list.
Nursing care is not cheap!
Look for a nursing home you can afford. Understanding the monthly cost of nursing care is important. Ask for the cost of care during your first visit so you won’t get caught by any unexpected fees.
Ratings & Review
Research what other people are saying about the nursing home. Make sure and do a Google search to see any ratings and reviews on the facility you are considering.
If you’re considering a Medicare or Medicaid-certified facility, go to Medicare’s Nursing home compare website.
The nursing home has been cited for abuse if you see an icon of a red hand next to the facility’s name.
Steps To Choosing The Right Nursing Home
- Do a Google search.
- Go to Medicare’s nursing home compare website and see the ratings.
- Talk to family and friends. Ask for recommendations to find out the places they suggest.
- Call different nursing home facilities. Ask basic questions, then ask for an appointment.
- Visit the facility. Ask the questions in the checklist to get a better idea about the nursing home. Try to bring a family member or a trusted friend with you during the visit.
- Visit the nursing home again without an appointment. Time your visit during mealtime. Check the dining room area and see if the food looks tempting.
- Evaluate the nursing home based on the checklist and notes you’ve made. Select the one that suits your loved one’s needs.
Choosing a nursing home can be a challenging process. Do your research and follow this guide to find the perfect nursing home for you or your loved one.
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Additional Questions & Answers On Nursing Home Checklist
How would you describe a nursing home?
A nursing home is a residential facility where seniors and other individuals who require ongoing medical care or assistance with daily living can receive the care and support they need. Nursing homes typically offer a range of services, including room and board, medication management, rehabilitation therapy, assistance with activities of daily living like bathing and dressing, skilled nursing care, memory care, and more.
What is another name for a nursing home?
Some people also refer to nursing homes as long-term, residential, or assisted living facilities. These terms may be used interchangeably, depending on the specific services and level of care offered at a given facility.
What services does a nursing home provide?
Nursing homes offer various services, depending on the specific needs of the residents. In general, nursing homes provide 24-hour skilled nursing care, assistance with activities of daily living, medication management, and access to rehabilitation services. Some nursing homes also offer specialized memory care services for residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Nursing homes may also offer a range of social activities and programs, such as group meals and outings.
When should you consider a nursing home?
In general, you should consider a nursing home when you or your loved one need ongoing medical care or assistance with activities of daily living that can no longer be provided at home. Additionally, nursing homes can provide a sense of community and social interaction for seniors who may be isolated at home.
What are the different types of nursing homes?
There are four main types of nursing homes: traditional nursing homes, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation hospitals, and continuing care retirement communities. Each of these facilities has slightly different services and offerings, so it is important to do your research and find the right care option for your needs.
What are the benefits of nursing homes?
Nursing home care benefits include 24-hour medical care and support, a range of social activities and programs, access to rehabilitation services, and more. Additionally, nursing homes can provide peace of mind for families who may be worried about their loved ones living alone at home.
What are the drawbacks of nursing homes?
The main drawbacks of nursing homes are the cost, which can be high depending on the type of care needed and where you live, and the loss of independence for residents. Additionally, nursing homes can be emotionally difficult for residents and their families, as they move to a nursing home is often seen as a mark of aging and declining health.
How do I tell my mom she needs to stay in a nursing home?
If you are concerned about your mom’s health or ability to care for herself, it may be time to consider a nursing home. This is a difficult and sensitive conversation, but it is important to be honest, and open with your mom about her health needs and how a nursing home can help.
What are the most common reasons why the elderly are placed in a nursing home?
There are many reasons why seniors may be placed in nursing homes. Still, the most common reasons include the need for 24-hour skilled nursing care, difficulty with activities of daily living like dressing and bathing, dementia or other forms of memory loss, and social isolation.
How would you describe a care home?
A care home is a type of residential facility where seniors and other individuals who require ongoing medical care or assistance with daily living can receive the care and support they need. Care homes typically offer a range of services, including room and board, medication management, rehabilitation therapy, assistance with activities of daily living like bathing and dressing, skilled nursing care, memory care, and more.
What qualities should you look for in a nursing home?
When choosing a nursing home, it is crucial to consider various factors. Some of the most important qualities to look for include the quality and experience of the staff, the range of services and care offerings, access to social activities and programs, location and proximity to family and friends, safety features, and quality of the facility, and cost and insurance coverage.
What questions should you ask when choosing a nursing home?
Some key questions to ask when choosing a nursing home include the qualifications and experience of the staff, the range of services provided, safety features and protocols, and the cost of care. Additionally, you may want to ask about the facility’s admissions process, social activities and programs, and family support services. Touring the facility and speaking with current residents or their families is also important to better understand what it would be like to live there.
What are the 3 most common complaints about nursing homes?
The 3 most common complaints about nursing homes include concerns about the quality and experience of the staff, issues with safety and care, and affordability. Other common complaints include inadequate social activities and programs, difficulty accessing family support services, poor food quality or nutrition, and lack of access to medical care or rehabilitation therapy.
What questions should I ask a long-term care facility?
Some key questions to ask when choosing a long-term care facility include the qualifications and experience of the staff, the range of services provided, safety features and protocols, and the cost of care. Additionally, you may want to ask about the facility’s admissions process, social activities and programs, and family support services. Touring the facility and speaking with current residents or their families is also important to better understand what it would be like to live there.
How can I tell if my loved one is being abused in a nursing home?
Several signs may indicate that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home. These can include sudden changes in mood or behavior, unexplained bruises or injuries, withdrawal from social activities, fear or anxiety around certain staff members, and more. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused, it is important to speak with their doctor, contact the facility’s administration, and consult with an attorney or legal advocate for support.
What is the biggest problem in nursing homes?
The biggest problem in nursing homes is often the quality and experience of the staff. Many facilities are understaffed, leading to safety issues, inadequate care, and poor overall quality of life for residents. Other common problems in nursing homes include issues with safety and care, affordability, social activities and programs, and access to family support services.
What makes a good residential home?
Some key qualities to look for in a good residential home include the quality and experience of the staff, the range of services and care offerings, access to social activities and programs, location and proximity to family and friends, safety features, and quality of the facility. It is also important to consider the cost of care and insurance coverage when choosing a residential home and other factors important to your loved one’s health and well-being.
How can nursing homes improve quality of life?
There are several strategies that nursing homes can adopt to improve the quality of life for their residents. These may include increasing staffing levels, improving safety protocols, increasing access to social activities and programs, providing individualized care, and improving communication with families.
What do you look for in elder care?
When choosing elder care, it is important to consider the needs and preferences of your loved one. Some key factors to look for include the quality and experience of the staff, the range of services provided, safety and security measures, access to social activities and programs, affordability, and insurance coverage.
How do you evaluate a skilled nursing facility?
There are several factors to consider when evaluating a skilled nursing facility. These may include the experience and qualifications of the staff, the range of services offered, safety protocols, the cost of care, and communication with families.
What are some questions to ask a nursing home?
Some key questions to ask when choosing a nursing home include the qualifications and experience of the staff, the range of services provided, safety features and protocols, the cost of care, admissions procedures and expectations, social activities and programs available, family support services offered, and any other factors important to you or your loved one. Other important questions to ask include the facility’s accreditation or licensing status and any complaints or incidents that have occurred in the past.
How do seniors feel about nursing homes?
Seniors may have different opinions about nursing homes based on their personal experiences. Some seniors may feel positive about their time in a nursing home, while others may have negative experiences. It is important to speak with your loved ones about their feelings and experiences to understand better how they feel about their current situation.
Which of the following are common problems in nursing home patients?
Some of the most common problems nursing home patients face include issues with safety and care, social isolation, lack of access to family support services or social activities, poor quality of life, and inadequate staffing levels. These problems may be addressed through various strategies, including recruiting and retaining qualified staff, increasing access to social activities and programs, improving safety protocols, and providing individualized care.
What is nursing home neglect?
Nursing home neglect is a type of abuse that occurs when nursing home staff fail to provide adequate care or meet residents’ basic needs. This may include personal hygiene, nutrition, hydration, medical care, social interactions, or safety issues. Neglect can have severe consequences for nursing home residents and often requires legal action.
How can you improve services in a care home?
Several strategies can be implemented to improve services in a care home. These may include increasing staffing levels, improving safety protocols and communication with families, providing more individualized care, increasing access to social activities and programs, and improving residents’ overall quality of life. Other approaches may include recruiting and retaining qualified staff, increasing access to social activities and programs, and providing individualized care.
What’s the difference between skilled nursing and assisted living?
There is no single definition of the difference between skilled nursing and assisted living, as these terms can refer to various services. Generally speaking, skilled nursing facilities provide higher care and services than assisted living facilities. Skilled nursing facilities may offer a wider range of medical and support services, such as nursing care, medication management, rehabilitation services, and other specialized care. In contrast, assisted living facilities typically offer a more independent lifestyle, focusing on social and recreational activities, personal care, and basic support services.
What’s the difference between skilled nursing and rehab?
There is no single difference between skilled nursing and rehab, as these terms can mean different things depending on the context. Generally speaking, skilled nursing refers to a range of medical and support services provided in a nursing home or long-term care facility, including nursing care, medication management, rehabilitation services, and specialized care. On the other hand, Rehab typically refers to a more intensive physical or occupational therapy program designed to help patients regain their independence and improve their health. Both skilled nursing and rehab can play an important role in the recovery process for patients facing serious or chronic conditions.
Are next of kin responsible for nursing home fees?
The responsibility for nursing home fees may vary depending on the individual situation. Sometimes, the next of kin may be responsible for paying all or part of the fees associated with a loved one’s care. In other cases, the responsibility may fall to other parties, such as Medicaid or long-term care insurance. It is important to speak with a legal professional about your specific situation to understand your requirements and options.
Can you put someone in a care home against their will?
There is no simple answer to this question, as the circumstances and legal requirements for placing someone in a care home against their will can vary depending on the individual situation. In some cases, it may be possible to involuntarily place a person in a care home if they are deemed a risk to themselves or others due to mental health issues or advanced age. However, in other cases, the person may need to be formally committed through the court system or other means to be placed against their will. It is important to consult with a legal professional to understand the specific requirements and options available in your situation.
What should I ask in a care plan meeting?
The content and focus of a care plan meeting will depend on the situation. Generally, a good care plan meeting should include a discussion of the individual’s current health and functional status, their long-term goals and priorities, and the support services and resources available to them. When developing the care plan, it is also important to consider the individual’s preferences and their family or caregivers.
What is the average length of stay in a skilled nursing facility?
The average length of stay in a skilled nursing facility can vary depending on the individual’s condition and care needs. In general, patients with more complex care needs may stay longer, while those with less complex needs may be able to transition to a less intensive level of care after a shorter stay. Factors such as the availability of long-term care insurance or Medicaid may also impact the average length of stay in a skilled nursing facility.