Below is an excerpt from Almost Like Home: A Family Guide to Navigating the Nursing Home Maze
“Touring the facility is a critical step in nursing home selection. A tour will give you a feeling for the facility and how it operates. It is a good idea to call the facility before you go. Many homes will give tours on the spot, but others schedule tours on particular days and times. Bring a friend, if possible. Two sets of eyes are better than one. After the tour, swap impressions. Take notes and ask plenty of questions.
A checklist can be helpful in evaluating a nursing home. Some factors to consider are:
Physical appearance of the facility both inside the building and outside.
The appearance of the residents. Are they well cared for, or do they look neglected?
Meal preparation and presentation.
Types of activities.
Interaction between staff and residents.
Visit more than one floor or unit and make sure that you see more than the unit for “rehab” patients. The section used for rehabilitation is often more nicely furnished than the units for long-term residents because government reimbursements are higher for “rehab” patients, making these floors more profitable. Ask to see the unit where your loved one may be residing. Note the interaction between staff and residents.
Note which rooms you are being shown. If you are brought into an occupied room unannounced or without permission, the staff tour guide is disregarding a resident’s privacy.
Be aware of unsanitary conditions. If residents look unkempt, with uncombed hair or dirty clothes, or if you smell urine or feces, this is not the nursing home for you.
If you like the facility and think it’s worth considering, plan to visit again, but at different times and on different days.
After touring the facility, sit in the lobby, go over your notes, and observe the activities around you. If possible, talk with some of the residents and their family members. Get their opinions! If you like the facility and think it’s worth considering, plan to visit again, but at different times and on different days.”
Download nursing home check list, click here