How do you know if a nursing home passes muster or not?

The following checklist can help you answer the above question in case you are a caregiver looking for a decent nursing home for a loved one.

Basic info

 

Yes

No

Medicare-certified

 

 

Medicaid-certified

 

 

Accepting new patients

 

 

Waiting period for admission

 

 

Number of beds in each category available to you

 

 

Recommendations

  • Skilled nursing care is usually available only for a short period after a hospitalization.  Basic nursing care is for a much longer period. If a facility offers both types of care, learn whether residents may transfer between levels of care within the nursing home without having to move from their old room or from the nursing home.
  • Nursing homes that only take Medicaid residents might offer longer term but less intensive levels of care. Homes that do not accept Medicaid payment may make a resident move when Medicare or the resident’s own money runs out. 
  • An occupancy rate is the total number of resident s currently living in a nursing home divided by the home’s total number of beds. Occupancy rates vary by area, depending on the overall  number of available nursing home beds.
 

 

Nursing home info

 

 

 

Yes

No

Home and current administrator are licensed

 

 

Home performs background checks on all employees

 

 

Home has special service units

 

 

Home has abuse prevention training

 

 

Recommendations

  • The nursing home and its administrator should be licensed by the State to operate.
  • Do the nursing home’s procedures to screen potential staff for a history of abuse meet your State’s requirements? Your State’s Ombudsman program might be able to help you with this information. 
  • If a nursing home has special service units, learn if there are separate waiting periods or guidelines for when residents would be moved on or off the special unit.
  • Do the nursing home’s training programs educate staff about how to recognize resident abuse and neglect, how to deal with aggressive or difficult residents, and how to deal with the stress of caring for so many needs? Are there clear procedures to identify events or trends that might lead to abuse and neglect, and on how to investigate, report, and resolve your complaints?
  • Are there policies or procedures to safeguard resident possessions?
 

 

Quality of life

Grade

Residents can make choices about their daily routine.

1

2

3

4

5

Interaction between staff and patient is warm and respectful.

1

2

3

4

5

Home is easy to visit for friends and family.

1

2

3

4

5

Nursing home meets you cultural, religious, or language needs.

1

2

3

4

5

Nursing home smells and looks clean and is well-lighted.

1

2

3

4

5

home maintains comfortable temperatures,

1

2

3

4

5

Resident rooms have personal articles and furniture.

1

2

3

4

5

Public and resident rooms have comfortable furniture.

1

2

3

4

5

Nursing home and its dining room are generally quiet.

1

2

3

4

5

Residents may choose from a variety of activities.

1

2

3

4

5

Nursing home has outside volunteer groups.

1

2

3

4

5

Nursing home has outdoor areas for resident use and help residents to get outside.

1

2

3

4

5

Quality of care

Grade

Facility corrected any Quality of Care deficiencies in the State Inspection Report.

1

2

3

4

5

Residents may continue seeing their personal doctor.

1

2

3

4

5

Residents are clean, appropriately dressed, and well-groomed.

1

2

3

4

5

Nursing home staff respond quickly to calls for help

1

2

3

4

5

The administrator and staff seem comfortable with each other and with the residents.

1

2

3

4

5

Residents have the same caregivers on a daily basis.

1

2

3

4

5

There are enough employees at night and on weekends or holidays to care for each resident.

1

2

3

4

5

Home has an arrangement for emergency situations with a nearby hospital.

1

2

3

4

5

Family and residents councils are independent from the nursing home's management.

1

2

3

4

5

Care plan meetings are held at times that are easy for residents and their family members to attend.

1

2

3

4

5

Recommendations

  • Good patient to staff ratio is important, but you should also consider other factors. Examples include staff training programs and how long staff stays at the home. If staff changes frequently, ask the reason.

Nutrition

Grade

Home corrected any deficiencies in these areas that were on the recent survey.

1

2

3

4

5

There are enough employees to assist each resident who requires help with eating.

1

2

3

4

5

Food smells and looks good and is served at proper temperatures.

1

2

3

4

5

Residents are offered choices of food at mealtimes.

1

2

3

4

5

Residents' weight is regularly monitored.

1

2

3

4

5

There are water pitchers and glasses on table in the rooms.

1

2

3

4

5

Staff encourages residents to drink if they are not able to do so on their own.

1

2

3

4

5

Nutritious snacks are available during the day and evening.

1

2

3

4

5

Dining room environment promotes relaxing, socializing, and enjoying the food.

1

2

3

4

5

Recommendations

  • Ask the staff how the medicine a resident takes can affect what they eat and how often they may want something to drink. 
  • Visit at meal time. Are residents rushed through meals or do they have time to finish eating and to use the meal as an opportunity to socialize with each other?
  • Sometimes the food a home serves is fine, but a resident still will not eat. Like everyone, nursing home residents like some control over their diet. Can they select their meals from a menu or select their mealtime?  
  • If residents need help eating, do care plans specify what type of assistance they will receive? 

Safety

Grade

There are handrails in the hallways and grab bars in the bathrooms.

1

2

3

4

5

Exits are clearly marked.

1

2

3

4

5

Spills and other accidents are cleaned up quickly.

1

2

3

4

5

Hallways are free of clutter and well-lighted.

1

2

3

4

5

There are enough employees to help move residents quickly in an emergency.

1

2

3

4

5

The nursing home has smoke detectors and sprinklers.

1

2

3

4

5

 

 

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