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What to look for in a nursing home

Elderly woman + her view

Image by Borya via Flickr


Once you have made your list of nursing homes to visit,there are a few key things to look for that will help you to make your decision.

The first thing you will notice when you step through the door is the smell.Is there a bad odor?The reason behind the odor could be many things-the residents are’nt being bathed regularly,the incontinent residents are not being changed often,there are open wounds due to residents either being left in bed,or the bed bound residents arent being turned often enough,or it may just be poor housekeeping.Whichever the reason,there are times when a bad odor equalls poor patient care.

Next,look at the residents closely.Do they appear well groomed and clean?Has their hair been brushed?Are their faces and hands clean?Is their clothing clean?Does it look like someone took the time to select an outfit,or just picked clothes at random?Clean and well dressed residents are a sign of good care.

Observe how the staff interacts with the residents.Does the nursing staff appear hurried and stressed?Do they interact in a positive way with the residents?Do they address the residents  by Mr. or Mrs. or their first name? Is the nursing staff smilimg and cheerful when interacting with the residents?

Ask to speak with the Director of Nursing and ask what the patient to staff ratio is because your loved one may not get the care they need if there are too many residents per caregiver.Find out what activities are available and who is allowed to participate.In some nursing homes only the residents that are fully functioning are allowed to join in the activities.

Ask to look in a couple of the residents rooms.If you want your loved one to have a private room,ask about availability.If you choose a semi-private room,find out how many residents share the room and how to choose an appriopriate roommate.Look at the cleanliness of the room as well.Is it neat and tidy?Is the bathroom clean?Have the floors been mopped?

Finally,if you are able,speak to a few of the residents about the care they recieve.Are they happy?Does the staff treat them with respect and dignity?Do they feel they are well taken care of?Does the staff listen to and respect their wishes?Ask the residents what complaints they may have.

All of this information will help you choose the best possible home for your loved one.


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