Choosing a long term care facility for yourself or a loved one can often be a challenging and stressful. The information provided below is meant to serve as a helpful checklist to consider before choosing a long term care facility.
- Consider location – A facility should not be chosen exclusively based on its location. While that may be one factor in the decision process, the closest facility may not be the best one to meet your needs.
- Whenever possible, make an appointment to visit the facility before placement is decided to get your own impression of resident care. How it looks and feels can often be a determining factor in a successful placement.
Does it have a welcoming atmosphere?
Is the staff welcoming of your questions?
Do the staff greet residents kindly and respectfully?
Do the staff know the residents by name?
Are the residents dressed appropriately for the time of day? Do residents look well groomed?
Is the facility clean and free from odors?
Do resident wheelchairs look clean and well maintained?
Be aware of resident call lights when you visit the facility. Are there many on and are they being answered promptly
- Nutrition is important so it is valuable to schedule your appointment during meal time so you can observe the dining room activity. Please be mindful not to disturb the residents who are dining and not to interrupt staff with questions at this time. Things to pay attention to are as follows:
Does the food look appealing?
Is it served in a manner that is pleasing to you?
Does the temperature of the food seem appropriate?
Are staff available to help resident’s open containers?
For residents who need assistance being fed, are staff interacting with residents by describing the food they are being served and are the residents given enough time to enjoy their meal?
Are residents being properly cared for after the meal?
Are there any odors in the dining room that would make meal time unappealing?
Are residents wearing their dentures so that they can chew their food?
- Look to see if the monthly activities calendar is posted so you can see what the facility doing to keep the residents active, engaged and mentally stimulated.
Are the Activities varied so there is something offered for a variety of residents?
Does the calendar reflect community involvement?
Does it reflect cultural and spiritual diversity?
Are the residents asked to participate in activity development?
Are the residents given an opportunity to share their talents such as painting, singing, coin collecting, etc.?
Are the activities age and gender appropriate?
- Ask if the facility has a Family Council and if they can provide you with contact information. Speaking with other families of residents can be helpful in determining whether a facility is appropriate for your loved one.
- Ask to see the last Department of Health Survey and the Plan of Correction. The survey is a regulatory review that identifies deficits that were present at the time of their visit. The Plan of Correction is the facilities response to remedy the deficits. This information is to be maintained in a place that is easily accessible for anyone to review and it is usually kept in a binder in the lobby area. If you don’t see it, ask for it.
- Know the interests and personal preferences of the person entering the facility so that you can make sure that the facility can meet all of their needs.
- Is this level of care appropriate for your loved one?
It is important to place a resident in the least restrictive environment while meeting their needs for care.
- How will the care be paid for? – Make an appointment to meet with the Admissions Department to discuss the options available.
Here is a short guide on planning for long term care that you may also find helpful.