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    What Caregivers Should Know About Nursing Home Care

    Nursing Home Checklist

    • Does the nursing home provide the level of care needed?
    • Does the nursing home meet local and/or state licensing requirements?
    • Does the nursing home's administrator have an up-to-date license?
    • Does the nursing home meet state fire regulations (including a sprinkler system, fire-resistant doors, and a plan for evacuating residents)?
    • What are the visiting hours?
    • What is the policy on insurance and personal property?
    • What is the procedure for responding to a medical emergency?

    Admission

    • Is there a waiting period for admittance?
    • What are the admission requirements?

    Fees and financing

    • Are fees competitive?
    • Have fees increased significantly in the past few years?
    • Is the fee structure easy to understand?
    • What are the billing, payment, and credit policies?
    • Are there different costs for various levels or categories of services?
    • Are the billing and accounting procedures understandable?
    • Does the nursing home reveal what services are covered in the quoted fee and what services are extra?
    • What governmental financing options are accepted (such as Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, and others)?
    • When may a contract be terminated? What is the refund policy?

    Needs assessment

    • Is there a written plan for the care of each resident?
    • What is the procedure for assessing a potential resident's need for services? Are those needs reassessed periodically?

    Professional staff

    • Do the nurses, social workers, and administrators have geriatric experience and/or education?
    • Are staff members available to meet scheduled and unscheduled needs?
    • Do staff members seem to genuinely enjoy working with the residents?
    • Do staff members treat residents as individuals?
    • Is staff available to assist residents who experience memory, orientation, or judgment losses?
    • Does a doctor or nurse visit the resident regularly to provide medical checkups?
    • Do residents appear happy and comfortable?
    • Do residents, other visitors, and volunteers speak favorably about the nursing home?
    • Are residents clean and adequately dressed?
    • Are the rights of residents clearly posted?

    Facility design

    • Do you like the appearance of the building and its surroundings?
    • Is the decor attractive and home-like?
    • Is the floor plan easy to follow?
    • Do doorways, hallways, and rooms accommodate wheelchairs and walkers?
    • Are elevators available?
    • Are handrails available?
    • Are shelves easy to reach?
    • Are carpets secured and floors made of a non-skid material?
    • Is there good natural and artificial lighting?
    • Is the residence clean, odor free, and appropriately heated/cooled?

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