Choosing a Nursing Home: 10 Considerations

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Cleanliness of the facility

Notice how clean and tidy the facility is kept.  Does it meet or exceed your expected level of cleanliness?  Better yet, would it pass your mother's inspection?  Address any concerns you have with the staff.


Relationship between staff and residents

Notice the relationships between the staff and the residents of the assisted living facility or nursing home.  Are the needs of the residents being addressed and to the residents seem happy and content with their living situation?  Perhaps ask some residents questions if permitted.


Visit bedrooms/apartments

Ask to visit the different accommodations available to your loved one.  Take note of which living set up would be best for your loved one and inquire about monthly pricing.


What can be brought?

Ask if the facility allows their residents to bring in furniture such as chairs, beds, tables, etc.  Some people feel an attachment to familiar objects.  If this is a requirement for them, it is important to discuss the possibility with the facility staff.


Safety precautions

Notice if there are guard rails throughout the facility, grab bars by the bathroom and sinks, walk-in showers, adequate lighting and no loose rugs or mats.  Also look for well-marked signage throughout the facility.  Ask the staff how they respond to emergencies, such as slips and falls.



Find out what kind of meals are provided for the community.  What kind of food is served?  How healthy is a typical menu?  Are there accommodations for dietary restrictions?  Are the residents permitted to prepare their own meals or be involved in preparing community meals?  Is food offered outside of mealtime?



Are housekeeping services such as laundry and room service available for the residents?  If so, does it come at an added cost?  If housekeeping services are not provided, are the residents offered assistance from the staff?


Staff availability and security

How available is the staff, including physicians, to the residents?  If your loved one will need constant care, find a facility that is equip to provide that level of care.  Also inquire about security precautions against outside intruders or wandering residents.


Medical appointments

Your loved one will, no doubt, have various medical appointments during their time at the facility.  Ask about how residents are transported to their various appointments.  Ask, also, to meet the doctors your loved one will be working with.


Smoking rules

If your loved one is a habitual smoker you will want to inquire about the facility's policy on smoking.  Be prepared that most nursing homes will have rather strict smoking policies.