Facility Shopping Checklist

Elimination PeriodMost of us don’t work in the senior health care service industry. We are teachers, bankers, lawyers, janitors, etc. But when it is time to help Mom or Dad make the transition to an assisted living, nursing home or memory care unit, we are suddenly expected to be experts in finding a place for them to go where they will be content and well cared-for. Frankly, it is daunting… even for those of us who DO work in this area!

So, here is a checklist of questions to ask any facility you are considering. This won’t guarantee you will have great long term care, but it will keep you “out of the ditch” for most problem areas. Feel free to copy and print – take it with you as you start your homework.

  1. What criteria do you use to determine if someone needs memory care instead of personal care?
  2. Will my Mom/Dad have to move if memory care becomes necessary?  If so, what triggers that?
  3. Are private rooms available in memory care?
    • If so, what do they cost?
    • What is the cost compared to personal care?
  4. What are your financial requirements to assure my Mom/Dad won’t have to move again, i.e., she would move to nursing care under Medicaid when appropriate?
  5. What is your procedure if Mom/Dad fall or have some other accident while here?
  6. Will my Mom/Dad have the same CNAs every day? Do they change or rotate? If so, how often.
  7. How would Mom/Dad be supervised in personal care? Who would ensure s/he:
    • Takes pills in the morning and at night
    • Brushes teeth in the morning and at night
    • Changes adult diapers if necessary
    • Showers thoroughly and dresses in clean clothing
    • Eats meals (Note:  what if your family member is unable to construct sentences and make decisions about what she wants to eat. Who would order her food?)
    • Participates in activities
    • Socializes and makes friends
  8. What is the average age of your residents?  Is it about the same as your family member?
  9. Do you have a list of recommended items we should bring if we move Mom/Dad in?
  10. Will you have a transition plan to help Mom/Dad settle in and adjust to this new home?
  11. How long does it generally take for a new resident to settle in?
  12. How often do you recommend I visit during the transition period?
    • Would frequent visits be helpful or disruptive in the early weeks?
    • How will I know if my visits are assuring or disruptive?
  13. How often do you recommend other family members and friends visit, especially early on?
  14. How will you respond when/if my Mom/Dad ask to go home?
  15. How should I respond when/if s/he asks to go home?
  16. Will I have a specific point of contact to check with about how Mom/Dad is doing?
  17. How long should we wait before we take him/her out for meals or for other activities?
  18. Will friends be able to take Mom/Dad out for lunch or dinner?  Does that require approval in advance?  If so, from whom?
  19. What are the most common challenges associated with transitioning a new resident?
  20. Do you have a list of things I can do to get Mom/Dad ready to move that would make her transition easier?

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