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Nursing Home Checklist

The thought of placing a loved one in a nursing home is difficult. Most people have reservations about the type of care their loved one would get. If your elderly relative is in a nursing home, you want to know they are safe.

A safety checklist for a nursing home resident can help you track changes. It can also help you notice a potential concern. Our nursing home checklist helps ensure your family member is safe and sound at their care facility.

Skilled Nursing Facility Certifications

The foremost consideration in the quality of care your loved one gets comes down to the facility's licenses and certifications:

  • Does the state license the home?
  • Is the home's administrator licensed?
  • Is the home Medicare-certified?
  • Is the home Medicaid-certified?
  • Is the home accepting new patients?
  • Is there a waiting list? How long?
  • Has a state agency found an unusual number of violations at this home?
  • Have residents or their families filed a lot of complaints?

Staffing Considerations

Nursing home care is only as effective as the level of care staff members provide:

  • Does the home do background checks on all staff?
  • Does the facility offer nursing home abuse prevention and other special training?
  • Is the interaction between the staff and patients cordial and respectful?
  • Does the staff respond quickly to calls for help?
  • Does there appear to be a good relationship between the staff and the administrator?
  • Do the residents have the same caregivers regularly?
  • Is there enough staff on duty at all times, including nights, weekends, and holidays?
  • Is there enough staff to help the residents eat?
  • Is there a high turnover among staff?

Resident Quality of Life and Furnishings

A nursing home resident deserves to live with dignity. They should be healthy and free of bedsores, bruises, and preventable diseases:

  • Are residents allowed to make choices about their daily routines? (e.g., when to get up, go to bed, or eat?)
  • Can the residents choose from a variety of activities?
  • Are the residents allowed to have personal furnishings in their rooms?
  • Do the residents' rooms have comfortable furniture?
  • Are there drawers and closets for the residents' clothing?
  • Are there pull curtains around the residents' beds for privacy?
  • Is the dining room clean, quiet, and cheerful?
  • Does the home have outdoor areas for the residents' use?
  • Are residents encouraged to go outside?
  • Are the residents clean, appropriately dressed, and well-groomed?

Nutrition and Mealtime Disclaimers

Your elderly loved one's dining experience is more than just about food. Remember that many nursing home residents take their medications around the same time their meals arrive.

  • Does the facility have a track record of preventing medication errors?
  • Are the residents offered food choices at each meal?
  • Does the food look and smell appetizing?
  • Is drinking water readily available?
  • Does the staff encourage and help the residents drink?
  • Are nutritious snacks available throughout the day?

Accessibility for Family Members and Visitors

A nursing home cannot act as a safe care provider to older people if its facility has accessibility issues. Consider getting inspection reports that support a safe habitation for your loved one.

  • Is it easy for friends and family to visit the home?
  • Is the location convenient for family visits?
  • Does the home look and smell clean?
  • Is the home well-lighted?
  • Is the home maintained at a comfortable temperature?
  • Do the public areas have comfortable furnishings?
  • Are there handrails in the halls?
  • Are there grab bars and call buttons in the bathrooms?
  • Are exits clearly marked?
  • Are spills quickly cleaned up?
  • Are halls well-lighted and free of clutter?
  • Are there adequate smoke detectors and a sprinkler system?

Health Care and Long-term Care Considerations

Elderly residents risk falling victim to medical malpractice or health care that falls below the standard level of care.

  • Is a hospital nearby in case of emergencies?
  • Are care plan meetings convenient for the residents and their families?
  • Does the staff regularly monitor the residents' weight?
  • Is most of the care provided by medically trained staff?
  • Can the residents continue treatment with their physicians?
  • How is regular medical attention assured?
  • Are other medical services available? (e.g., optometric, dental, etc.?)
  • Is there a pharmacist on the staff?
  • Is there a physical therapist on the staff?
  • Is there an occupational therapist on the staff?
  • Is there a social worker available to residents and their families?
  • Are barbers and beauticians available?

Social Considerations

Elder abuse can happen if unsupervised residents engage in conflict. Their social safety should be a big consideration for a good care facility.

  • How are disputes resolved?
  • How does the home match roommates?
  • Are single rooms available?
  • Are religious services available?
  • Would I be comfortable leaving my loved one in this home?
  • Are other residents and their families happy with the care at the home?
  • Is the cost reasonable in comparison to other homes?

Disclaimer: Our checklist is comprehensive, but it is impossible to account for all sorts of things that could go wrong. Check out Findlaw's Nursing Home Abuse Section for more information on keeping your loved ones safe and preventing their wrongful deaths.

Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer

This checklist is to help you avoid problematic nursing homes. But nursing home negligence or abuse can happen anywhere. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries at a nursing home through the willful disregard or negligence of the staff, you may have a valid claim for damages. Get a legal review of your situation today by consulting a nursing home abuse lawyer.

A nursing home abuse attorney specializes in personal injury matters for older adults. As a personal injury attorney, they are well-versed in issues relating to nursing home neglect. Get legal advice from a law office today to protect your elderly loved ones.

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