Nursing Homes: Evaluating the Facility is Critical
most important criterion to consider when evaluating a nursing home
facility is that all residents are treated with kindness and respect.
Of equal importance is to consider whether the nursing home is clean
and cheerful and that the food is appetizing and the menu is varied.
Nursing home staff should usually be available and residents should
seem well cared for. The place should be as homey as possible and
ideally would not feel as institutional as
many nursing homes seem to
Some of the
warning signs you may look for in a nursing home include restraints
used on the residents, unpleasant odors, and when residentís calls for
assistance are consistently being ignored or put off by nursing home
staff. Other concerns should be a lack of privacy for the residents
and an apparent high-level of secrecy by the staff about a loved oneís
information. Take special note of handicapped access and clear
markings on exits.
Your nursing home
evaluation should also focus on the fact that the primary purpose is
to provide medical and daily living care. A person who needs to be in
a nursing home is going to have some level of reduced privacy and
lessened independence. These factors are a natural byproduct of this
type of living arrangement. You should also find out if your doctor
will visit the nursing home if needed, or if you will have to use the
providers who staff the facility. Also, it is incredibly important to
consider how convenient the nursing home is for family members. Look
to see if the Residentís Bill of Rights is posted. You should read it
and also ask for a copy.
Additional Information you should know about nursing homes:
No more than four
beds per room are allowed, and each room must have a bathroom
accessible with bathing facilities. It is required that there be a
system to summon assistance when needed. Restraints (physical and
drug) are not allowed unless there is an individual doctorís order.
Nursing homes have
a Board of Trustees that set the policies and procedures of the
facility. The administrative staff handles the daily operations,
coordinating services with nursing, dietary and all of the various
aspects of running the nursing facility.
P.S. It is also my
personal recommendation (as a Psychologist who provides services in
nursing homes) to ask key staff how long they have worked at the
facility. Some nursing homes are virtually a revolving door of
personnel. My personal observation is that frequently the best care
is provided in homes that have staff who have worked there for a
considerable period of time.
Some information from
Seniorís Rights: Your Legal Guide to Living Life to the Fullest By
Brette McWhorter Sember
Paul Susic M.A. Licensed
Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate (Geriatric Psychologist)