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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

What Caregivers Should Know About Nursing Home Care

Nursing Home Checklist continued...

Medication and health care

  • What is the policy regarding storage of medication and assistance with medication?
  • Is self-administration of medication allowed?
  • Who coordinates visits from a physical, occupational, or speech therapist if needed?


  • Is staff available to provide 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living, if needed? Daily activities include:
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Mobility
  • Hygiene and grooming
  • Bathing, toileting, and incontinence
  • Using the telephone

Room features

  • Are rooms for single and double occupancy available?
  • Is a 24-hour emergency response system accessible from the room?
  • Are bathrooms private? Do they accommodate wheelchairs and walkers?
  • Can residents bring their own furnishings? What may they bring?
  • Do all rooms have a telephone? How is billing handled for long-distance calls?

Social and recreational activities

  • Is there an activities program?
  • Are the activities posted for residents?
  • Do most of the residents at activities seem to be participating?

Food service

  • Does the nursing home provide three nutritionally balanced meals a day, seven days a week?
  • Is the food hot, attractive, and tasty?
  • Are snacks available?
  • How are special diets handled? May a resident request special foods?
  • Is drinking water always accessible?
  • Are common dining areas available or do residents eat meals in their rooms?
  • May meals be provided at times a resident prefers or are there set meal times?
  • Is assistance available for residents who need help with eating?

Residents and Atmosphere

Common terms:

Skilled nursing care: Care that is received in a nursing facility that provides 24-hour nursing care for convalescent residents and those with long-term care illnesses. It is one step below hospital acute care, and regular medical supervision and rehabilitation therapy are usually available.

Personal care: Care that is customized to the individual needs of activities of daily living; self-administration of medications.

Activities of daily living (ADL): Everyday activities that include bathing, grooming, eating, toileting, and dressing.

Instrumental activities of daily living (IADL): Include activities such as shopping, preparing meals, performing housework, laundering, heavy chores, managing finances, and yard work and maintenance.

Home health care: Medical and nursing care that is administered in the individual's home by a licensed provider.

Health maintenance organization (HMO): A health maintenance organization is an organized system for providing comprehensive healthcare in a specific geographic area to a voluntarily enrolled group of members.

WebMD Medical Reference

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