Industry Insight

Questions to Ask When Touring Nursing Homes

Rauf Zeynalov

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When calling or visiting a prospective Nursing home, this checklist can be used as a guide to help ensure that you are asking important questions and when you log the answers from each facility it can make it easier to compare those being considered.

General:

  • Is the nursing home close to a hospital, family, and friends, close to transit, shopping, and parks?
  • What is the Medicare.gov rating for this nursing home?
  • Are there rooms available?
  • Is there a wait for long-term care beds?
  • Was the general atmosphere of the environment pleasant, clean, odor free, inviting, and well-maintained?
  • Did residents appear to be content and well cared for?
  • Does the staff seem friendly, helpful, and accommodating?
  • Are there criminal background checks on all staff?
  • Do you verify all the licensing /certification requirements before hiring your caregivers?
  • What is the ratio of staff to residents?
  • Does the number of staff seem adequate for the number of residents?
  • Is there in-service training and continuing education for all care staff?
  • Is there an ombudsman program?

Services:

  • Is there a physician on staff or affiliated with the nursing home?
  • Do residents have to change their physician upon admission to the facility?
  • Can the staff handle my loved one’s specific diagnosis?
  • Do healthcare professionals visit the facility to provide services to residents? (i.e., dental, lab, podiatrist, physical therapy)?
  • Are there other non-healthcare related services available on the premises (i.e., barber, beauty shop, convenience store, and banking services)?
  • Is help with activities of daily living provided (i.e., grooming, dressing, and bathing)?
  • Does the facility offer 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 (i.e., 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?

Building Amenities and Features:

  • Does the nursing home have private rooms? Is there an extra cost to the room?
  • Does furniture come with the room?
  • Does the nursing home have smoke detectors, sprinklers, and emergency evacuation plan?
  • Does the nursing home offer communal and private dining?
  • Do the lounge areas seem comfortable and inviting at the facility?
  • Does the facility offer an outside patio or balcony for residents?
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