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Investigate Assisted Living and Nursing Home Facilities

Assisted Living

Assisted living offers a combination of housing, support services, and lifestyle for older adults who need assistance with activities of daily living. The general philosophy is to maximize a person's independence, individuality, and dignity. Many states do not require the licensing of assisted living facilities. You can investigate a facility for yourself to make an informed choice. Visit during different times of the day and week and make sure to ask questions.

Ask the following questions:
-Do you like the residence's location and outward appearance?
-Is the decor attractive and home-like?
-Do staff members treat each other and the residents with respect and interact warmly?
-Is the residence clean, free of odors, and appropriately heated and cooled?
-Is a 24-hour emergency response system accessible from the apartment?
-Is staff available 24 hours a day?
-Are three nutritionally balanced meals provided each day, as well as special diets?
-Are residents able to keep food in their apartment and is there a cooking unit in their apartment?
-Is a nurse on site or on call to monitor health status?
-May residents bring their pets?
-Is there a written plan of care [service] for each resident?
-Is there a process for periodically assessing resident needs that includes the resident, family, and staff?

Nursing Home

nursingA nursing home is a facility that provides nursing care and rehabilitation services.

There are two types of nursing homes. A skilled nursing home has nurses on staff 24 hours a day. Intermediate nursing homes are only required to have a nurse available 8 hours a day.

All nursing homes must be licensed by the state and undergo regular inspection. Nursing homes are generally stand-alone facilities, but sometimes they are connected to hospitals or assisted living facilities.

Choosing a nursing home can be challenging. Some people may feel guilty over placing their loved one in a nursing home. If timing allows, visit frequently during different times and days of the week.

Be sure to ask the following questions, as this may help you feel better about your decision.

-Does the staff treat residents respectfully at all times?
-Are residents dressed appropriately and well groomed?
-What efforts does staff make to meet the needs of each resident?
-What activities are planned to meet the needs of individual residents?
-Is the food attractive and tasty? Some facilities will allow you to sample a meal.
-How does the staff respond to calls for assistance?
-How are residents and family involved in resident care planning?
-What therapies can the facility provide (physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy)?
-What type of arrangement does the nursing home have with a nearby hospital?
-Is the facility clean? Are spills and other accidents cleaned up quickly?
-Are the hallways free of clutter and well lighted?
-What is the staff to patient ratio?
-What are the results of the latest inspections, and is a list of the resident rights posted


Additional Information:

You can click on each link below to learn more about Nursing Homes/Long-term Care.

How to Choose a Nursing Home (PDF file)

Long-Term Care Consumer Guide

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Last Updated: 4/20/16