Finding a quality facility takes time. Here are some things to look for when researching a nursing care facility.
From the minute you walk in that door:
- Does somebody greet you? Is somebody saying, “Can I help you?”
- Every building you walk into has its own personality. Are people calm or running up and down the halls? In some buildings you can feel the tension, or unhappiness, or that the staff isn’t working together.
- Does odor knock you out? Now, if you’re in a facility at 9:00 a.m. and everybody’s just had breakfast, there may be an odor. We take care of patients who need total care. The trick is, 15, 20 minutes from now, that odor should have dissipated. It shouldn’t be lingering the entire visit.
- Are the call bells ringing off the wall? Are the nurses just sitting there or do you see someone go to room 107?
- Walk through the building. Are patients up? And again, time of day makes a difference. If you’re there at 8:00 in the morning, don’t expect residents to be up. A good time to go is right before noon because everybody should be up and dressed, their room should be made up and set up.
- See what the lunch looks like. Are the trays just sitting in front of residents or is there somebody helping them?
- If you’ve never been to a nursing home, I recommend not coming alone the first time. Some literature says just walk through and don’t announce yourself. You can do that, but not your first time. Do that your second time. Bring somebody with you, ‘cause it’s like going to the doctor. You don’t always hear what people are saying. - Stella Henry
These comments were taken from original interviews for the Embracing Aging documentary and have been paraphrased slightly for readability.