What are the most important factors in evaluating a nursing home?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

What are the most important factors in evaluating a nursing home?

Expert Answers

Donna Quinn Robbins is the author of Moving Mom and Dad and On the Road of Life, Drive Yourself. She helps individuals, families, retirement communities, and corporations make successful transitions through her company, Ultimate Moves. Robbins is an active public speaker on the topic of senior transition services and has appeared on NBC's Today Show.

There are many things to consider when choosing a nursing home for your parent. Here are some of the key questions to get you started as you make this important decision.

  • Is the facility clean?
  • Does it have a bad odor?
  • How long has the director been accredited and what kind of experience does he or she have?
  • How many citations does the facility have and have they been cleared by the Department of Social Services?
  • Have the same citations occurred year after year?
  • Is the facility family-run or is it operated by a large company or chain?
  • Are the residents well-dressed and clean?
  • Is there an activities calendar posted?
  • Does the menu change on a regular basis?
  • Are residents strapped to their wheelchairs and left in the hallways alone?
  • Do the staff treat the residents with respect and care?

Once you've chosen a nursing home, pop in at different times of the day to see how your parent is doing. I once helped a woman move to a skilled nursing facility and told the staff that it was important to her to be dressed and have makeup on every day. When I returned a few days later, she was sitting in a wheelchair at 11 a.m. in a bathrobe with uncombed hair and no makeup. I made a complaint, but still had to keep checking on her every few days to make sure her needs were being met. Whatever nursing home you choose, the family needs to advocate for the senior on an ongoing basis to ensure the best possible care.

Community Answers

Wesleyktb answered...

Also what one can do is listen to the staff - see how they act, talk to, and talk about the residents. Listen to other residents at the home. A lot of times you don't really see things till your family member is there , so if possible get to know someone that you could go back and visit and you can learn - the truth about how the staff really works, besides getting a wonderful new friend. I worked at facilities for almost 25 years and that is what I would tell them to do if considering having a family member live there. Also you will be able to tell just how many residents the techs, aides , nurses really have to take care of. Just because you are told one thing that does not mean a lot. I know it sounds like a lot to do , but you want your family member taken care of...