Selecting A Nursing Home
Items to consider when selecting a nursing home or care facility for a parent or loved one include:
I. Initial Considerations:
- What atmosphere and location would the potential resident prefer?
- Close to home or to other family and friends? The closer to your loved one, the more you, friends, and family can visit and ensure the resident’s well-being.
- Urban or rural?
- Small private care home or larger home with a professionally attended yard or garden?
- Near doctors and hospitals? What are the patient’s medical needs?
- Rehabilitation or Long Term Skilled Nursing?
- Dementia or Alzheimer’s care? Residents with these conditions require extra protection and care. Is the facility properly equipped and prepared?
- What are the resident’s physical, emotional and social needs and how can facilities meet these needs?
Availability and Payment: Is the facility accepting new Medicare, ALTCS, or Private Pay Patients?
II. RESEARCH & LEG WORK:
*** Do your homework. There is no substitute for research and good old-fashioned legwork. ***
- Ask your friends, neighbors and coworkers about their family’s experiences at local homes.
- Use Checklists to compare facilities. Sample checklists are available at:
III. Visit the facility.
We recommend that you visit the facility, unannounced, more than once, and at different times per day. Pay attention to everything you see, hear, touch, and smell. A small sample of things to look for:
- Does the facility appear clean? Cheerful?
- Are the residents’ call lights promptly answered?
- How does the facility smell? Does it smell clean or reek of urine?
- Are the floors clear and free of hazards that could cause a fall?
- Are the hallways wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and others using walkers or canes?
- Are the exits well marked? What fire safety measures do you see?
- Are the residents dressed and groomed by a reasonable hour?
- Do the bedrooms have at least one window?
- Are there grab bars near the toilet and shower? Does the shower have a non-slip floor?
- What is the floor plan? How close or far away is the nurses’ station?
- What is the condition of the dining facility?
- Are there rehabilitation facilities? Separate recreation, activity, and visiting areas?
- Are the facility’s surveys and plans of correction available for review?
- Research each individual facility. Public records, ratings, and survey results available on-line.
- Verify that the facility’s Administrator is licensed.
- Read and understand all admission paperwork before you sign it.
- Know your rights before you enter a facility: A comprehensive summary of residents’ rights is located at: //www.azdhs.gov/als/ltc/resrights.pdf. Your most basic rights include:
- You have the right to be treated with respect and dignity, in recognition of your individuality and preferences.
- You have the right to quality care and treatment that is fair and free
- from discrimination.
- Relatives or a legal representative may act on your behalf to exercise these rights when you are unable to do so yourself.
IV. Additional Resources:
- “A Consumer’s Guide to Nursing Homes” is available at //www.azdhs.gov/als/ltc/nhconsgde.pdf
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
DIVISION OF LICENSING SERVICES
Office of Long-Term Care Licensing
150 North 18th Ave, Suite 440, Phoenix, AZ 85007
400 W. Congress, Tucson, AZ 85701
- For additional information before you or a loved one enters a facility, call the Arizona’s Office of Long Term Care (602-364-2690), or the State Long Term Care Ombudsman (602-542-4446).