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Checklist for picking a nursing home

If you have made the hard decision to move a loved one into a home, well done, we know that it can be a difficult, traumatic experience for everyone involved. Now that it is decided, you are probably keen to make sure you choose the most suitable home for your loved one. They are likely to be unhappy about the decision, so making sure their potential home suits them is going to make the transition much easier for both of you.

This checklist should enable you to make the most informed decision possible. It includes a list of nursing home facilities to check and some other important factors you might not have thought about.

  • Does the home have a Medicare certification?
  • Does the home have a Medicaid certification?
  • Is the home licensed by a state?
  • Do they have an available bed for your loved one?
  • Does the home offer any specialist services, that your loved one might need?
  • How close is the home to friends and family?
  • Is the home upfront about any additional costs, charges or fees?
  • How many stars is the home rated on Medicar.gov?
  • Can they tell you of any action they have taken to improve their quality of service and training?
  • How close is the home to the nearest hospital/personal doctor?
  • Does the home have transport available for hospital trips?
  • Are they willing to show you their inspection sheet? (By law they have to have the most recent state or federal report available for you to look at on-demand)
  • What vibe do the staff give off? Are they friendly, polite and respectful?
  • Can the home prove they have done relevant criminal checks on its staff?
  • What is the policy when it comes to detecting, reporting and dealing with abuse?
  • Are they being pro-active at preventing abuse and negligence?
  • Do the residents seem well-groomed and hygienic?
  • Do the residents seem appropriately dressed?
  • Is the home odor-free, clean and tidy?
  • Are the light and noise levels pleasant?
  • Is the furniture clean and comfortable, yet sturdy?
  • Are all exits clearly marked? Do they have a clear fire evacuation plan?
  • Are there any family quiet areas for visits?
  • Is the home wheelchair friendly?
  • Do the staff knock before entering and call the residents by name?

Hopefully, by going through this checklist when you visit a home, you should be able to tell if it is suitable for your loved one. Another great idea is to ask your loved one for any requirements and questions they want to ask. This can be a good way to sit down and communicate, especially if you have fallen out over the decision, as is common.

If they have some requirements, you can add them to the list. This will provide you with a customized checklist. You can then visit homes until you find one that ticks all the right boxes. Remember, this is the home that your loved one is going to live in, potentially for the rest of their life. Do not make a rushed decision.