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Q: What are some things to look for when selecting a nursing home?

A:

Most nursing homes have admissions workers who will be happy to schedule a tour for you. Be sure that you are also welcome to drop in after your tour to review your first impressions. It is often helpful to visit in early evening so that you have observed the caregiving activities on both daylight and evening shifts.

Checklists are a recommended way of recording your observations when you visit a nursing home. You can design your own or use one of the many checklists available on the Internet. Any checklist you choose to use should include some basic information.

The following are suggestions for items that you may wish to include on your checklist. These are not all-inclusive but should rather be viewed as a starting point. Remember to put the date and time of your visit on each checklist as you visit nursing homes. A photograph of the outside of the facility can also be a good reminder. If the facility offers you a brochure be sure to attach this to your checklist.

  • Will you have to move to a different part of the facility based on your financial resources?
  • Is there a waiting list?
  • Does the facility have a license?
  • Is there a licensed nursing home administrator?
  • When you enter the nursing home, what is your first impression?
  • Is it a warm and inviting environment?
  • Is it odor free?
  • Is the temperature comfortable?
  • Is it clean?
  • Is it quiet?
  • Do staff and residents appear to interact with ease?
  • Are there regular staff or does the facility depend on Agency or contracted employees?
  • Are there special care units designed to meet specific resident needs such as Alzheimer’s/Dementia Units, Ventilator Units, etc
  • Is there sufficient staff on evenings and weekends?
  • Are requests for assistance by residents/families responded to in a timely manner? For example, how long does it take staff to answer a call bell or light?
  • Are care planning meetings held at times that are convenient for residents and family members? Are the meeting times flexible?
  • Are meals attractive, nutritious, and varied?
  • Does the facility have a dietary/nutrition specialist who monitors the menus?
  • Is the facility able to provide specialized or therapeutic diets when necessary?
  • Do residents routinely have input into the menu selections?
  • Is cold food cold and hot food hot?
  • Are dining rooms attractive and conducive to eating?
  • Is assistance offered to residents as needed?
  • Are fluids readily available to residents in the dining areas, common areas, and in their rooms?
  • Are resident’s weights monitored regularly?
  • Are snacks available at all times even when the kitchen is not open?
  • Does the facility appear to be safe and hazard free?
  • Are carts routinely stored in hallways/corridors where residents must walk?
  • Is carpet or tile in good repair to prevent tripping hazards?
  • Are walking areas well lit without shine or glare?
  • Are there wander protection devices in areas where confused residents reside or visit?
  • Are exits clearly marked and visible to residents and visitors?
  • Are spills cleaned up quickly and thoroughly?
  • Are handrails stable, clean and hazard free?
  • Are handrails available everywhere that residents go without interruption?
  • Do you notice any residents in physical restraints (devices that prevent the resident from moving freely) that seem inappropriate?
  • Are there smoke detectors and fire escape plans?
  • Are there regular fire drills?

The Pennsylvania nursing home attorneys at Schmidt Kramer Injury Lawyers see that this case has repercussions for families with elderly parents. Our firm also works on cases of nursing home neglect or abuse.

If you suspect that your loved one is not being cared for properly in a skilled nursing facility, please contact a Central Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawyer at 888-476-0807 or dial 8 and 717-888-8888 for a free consultation.