Ten Questions to Ask When Choosing a Nursing Home

By The Care Centers.

Choosing a nursing home (link to What to Consider When Choosing a Nursing Home) is a major decision, and is not one that should be taken lightly. As you are determining the best location for your loved one, there are ten questions that you need to ask yourself before making your decision.

How Does the Facility Smell?

Given the nature of a nursing home, you can expect a momentary unpleasant odor on occasion. However, if there is an overwhelming odor, such as stale urine and the like, that doesn’t dissipate, it could be an indicator that the facility is not being cleaned properly.

Does the Staff Seem Overworked?

During your visit, pay attention to the workers – are there only a few that seem to be constantly on the run? Try to ask some of the staff members if they are often required to work double shifts or overtime. If so, there may be understaffing issues.

How is the Interaction Among Staff Members?

Do you notice a sense of camaraderie and friendship, or are they rude to each other? The manner in which they interact among themselves can give a good indication of how they will interact with patients

How’s the Food?

If possible, talk to some of the patients and ask them about the food. If possible, try to visit the cafeteria and see how the food actually looks and smells. You want to make sure your loved one (link to How to Deal With Resistance to Elder Care) will find the meals appetizing.

Is the Facility Secured?

If you are looking for a place that will keep Mom from wandering away, make sure the facility has measures in place to keep patients safe. If your loved one has Alzheimer’s, specialized facilities will often be locked to provide better safety.

Are There Visitation Restrictions?

Make sure you find out about visiting hours, as well as who is allowed in to see your loved one. If you work a late shift, will you still be able to stop in just to say hi, or are the doors locked after a certain time?

What Are the Residents Doing?

Look for activity areas, and check whether there are patients outside (weather permitting). If you see very few patients outside of their rooms, this is not always a good sign – especially if they are alone.

What Do You Hear?

It is normal to hear a few patients asking for help or moaning. However, do you hear the staff paying attention to the patients? Make sure the staff is speaking to the patients with respect, and calling them by name. 

Are Activities Provided?

Planned activities are designed to keep patients engaged, rather than sitting in their rooms being bored. Check to see if the facility offers activities.

Does the Staff Interact with Patients?

During your visit, check to see whether staff interacts with patients even when not addressing a specific need. A kind word or a simple “Hi Mrs. D” shows the staff takes time to bond with the patients.

Asking these questions during your visit will help you make an informed decision for your loved one.


Tags: Nursing Homes