By Hilary Gibson, Staff Writer
Appearance/Atmosphere - are the
kitchen, day rooms and bedrooms clean? Is there good
natural and artificial lighting? How is the
temperature? Are there any unpleasant odors?
Does the facility meet your standards of
cleanliness? Is the facility wheelchair and
walker friendly? Are there handrails to help with
Menus - is the menu varied and
nutritious? Will the facility accommodate special
dietary needs? Is food available throughout the day?
Are people allowed to snack? Are mealtimes flexible
and varied? How is the food? Visit facilities at
mealtime. Does the food look appetizing? Do
residents appear to be enjoying their meals? Is
there adequate assistance and supervision for those
residents who need it? Ask if you can sample the
food. What do you think of it?
Bathrooms - are they private? Are they
clean? Are they easy to find? Are they close to
where your loved one will be? Do they have grab bars
and other safety devices installed?
Alzheimer’s-friendly – if your
loved one has Alzheimer’s, is the staff specially
trained to care for someone with this condition or
other forms of dementia? Is there a separate unit
for Alzheimer’s residents? Are Alzheimer residents
able to wander safely indoors and outside?
Resident-to-staff ratio - What
is the resident-to-staff ratio? How many residents
have Alzheimer’s disease? Does the staff provide
enough care throughout the disease process, no
matter what the disease and/or condition?
Interaction - do all staff
interact with residents on a regular basis, and in a
friendly and personable manner?
Activities – are there meaningful activities for
groups and individuals? Are there therapeutic
activities, like music, pet, or plant therapy? Are
there opportunities for your loved one to socialize?
Are the routines flexible and offer variety?
Visiting – when are you allowed
to visit? Can you have privacy with the resident
when visiting? Can you take the resident on outings,
such as to a park, a restaurant, or to a family
Behavior Management - how are
different types of behaviors handled? Are restraints
used? (Physical restraints like straps, chemical
restraints like sedatives, or restraints to the
environment, like a locked door.) Don’t be afraid to
ask what portion of the residents has to be
“medicated” or have to have physical restraints;
also, try noticing these things yourself.
Safety - are there smoke
detectors? Are there slip-proof mats in the baths,
grab rails, bed rails,etc.?Medical Care - can you
continue to use members of your loved one’s
healthcare team? Is there a doctor always available
or on call in case of emergencies? How often does a
doctor visit? Can you meet the doctor?