Checklist for Choosing a Nursing Facility
You may want to use this checklist when you visit nursing facilities to
help you compare one with another. An asterisk * indicates that
this item is required by licensing or certification regulations.
LICENSING AND CERTIFICATION
- Does the facility have a framed, posted license from the State Department of Health?*
- Does the administrator have a current license from the State Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators?*
Is the facility certified to participate in Medicare and/or
PHYSICAL AND OPERATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
Location Convenient for resident's personal doctor? Convenient for
frequent visits by family and friends?
- Accident Prevention *
- Rooms and halls well-lighted, free from glare?
- Free of hazards underfoot?
- Chairs sturdy and not easily tipped?
- Non-slip surface on hall and bath floors?
- Handrails in hallways and grab bars in bathroom?
- By January 1, 1993, does the facility have a sprinkler system?
- Does the facility have smoke detectors?
- Written emergency evacuation plans?
- Fire drills at least quarterly?
- Exit doors clearly marked and not locked or obstructed on the inside?
Stairways enclosed and doors to stairways kept closed?
- Bedrooms *
- Open into hall?
- No more than four beds per room?
- Easy access to each bed?
- Drapery for each bed?
- Nurse call bell by each bed?
- Fresh drinking water at each bed?
- At least one comfortable chair per patient?
- Reading lights?
- Clothes closet and drawers?
Room for a Wheelchair to maneuver?
- Toilet Facilities *
- Easy for a wheelchair patient to use?
- Nurse call bell?
- Hand grips on or near toilets?
- Bathtubs and showers with non-slip surfaces?
- Cleanliness *
- Free of unpleasant odors?
Incontinent patients given prompt attention?
- Day room *
- Does it appear to be used by residents?
- Lamps, tables and comfortable chairs?
Books and games available?
- Dining Room/Food Services *
- Attractive and pleasant?
- Comfortable chairs and tables?
- Meals match a posted menu and attractively served?
- Those needing help with eating receive it?
- Meals served on a regular schedule?
- Residents encouraged to eat in dining room?
Special diets available?
- Food preparation, dishwashing and garbage areas separated?
- Food needing refrigeration not standing on counters?
Kitchen help observe sanitation rules?
- At least one bed and bedroom available for patients with contagious diseases?
- Are grounds attractive, well kept and accessible to residents? *
- Is the home air conditioned?
- Does the facility seem to be in good repair and condition? *
a) Is there an area where patients can sit or walk outside?
b) Is there a secure area outside for residents with dementia?
- Physician available in emergency?*
- Regular medical attention assured?*
- Thorough physical immediately before or upon admission?*
- Medical records and plan of care kept?*
- Other medical services (dentists, optometrists, etc.) available regularly?*
- Freedom to choose pharmacy?*
- Does the home have an x-ray machine?
- Emergency transportation available?*
- Nursing Services
- Registered nurse responsible for nursing staff in a skilled nursing facility with 25 or more beds?
- LPN or RN on all shifts seven days per week?
- Nurse Aides certified through a state approved training program?
- Activities Program
- Individual resident choices and preferences observed?*
- Group and individual activities?*
- Residents encouraged but not forced to participate?*
- Outside trips for those who can go?
- Volunteers from the community work with patients?
- Activities director or coordinator on staff?*
- Activities offered to residents confined to their beds or rooms?*
- Religious Observances *
- Arrangements made for patient to worship as he or she pleases?
- Religious observances a matter of choice?
- Social Service
- Social Worker available to help residents and families?*
- Family Forums held on a regular basis?*
- Facility has a Residents' Council that meets on a regular basis?
- Facility has a Family Council that meets on a regular basis?
- Barbers and beauticians available for men and women?
- Personal clothing laundered in nursing home?
- Special efforts made to prevent loss of clothing?
- Laundry cost included in monthly fee?
- Facility provides special therapy (physical, speech, occupational) to meet the residents' needs?*
- Can arrangements be made to meet any special needs or requirements of the resident?*
- Is additional supervision or assistance available for confused residents or those with dementia?*
- Are orientation clues (e.g. directional signs, large clocks and calendars) conspicuously displaced?*
- Courteous and helpful toward residents and family?*
- Is the administrator available to residents and their families during normal business hours?*
- Contract clearly states what services and goods are and are not included in the basic fee (e.g. personal toiletries, diapers, special diets, therapies, medical supplies, extra supervision or assistance, etc.)?*
- Are the monthly charges pro-rated in case the resident has to be discharged, or dies, before the end of the billing period?
- Is the resident given a monthly itemized accounting of services and fees, and an accounting of the personal funds available?*
ATTITUDES AND ATMOSPHERE
- Resident's Rights*
- Informed of rights and responsibilities?
- Encouraged to exercise rights as a resident and citizen (e.g. voting, etc.)?
- May manage own finances if you choose to, receive an accounting if not?
- Have privacy for telephone calls and visits?
- May choose own physician, pharmacy, and care providers as long as you can afford the fees?
- Encouraged to take part in planning own care?
- May keep own clothes and possessions (given space limitations)?
- Married couples may share a room if they want to?
- Telephone numbers of the Department of Health, Division of Licensure and Certification, Complaint Coordinator;
- The State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (Toll-free: 1-800-552-3402) and any local Ombudsman Program; and the Department of Rights for Virginians with Disabilities (Toll-free: 1-800-552-3462) are posted?
- Is there an admission preference given by payment source?
- Were you given information on the facility's waiting list, including the number of persons on the list and the dates when other persons were placed on the waiting list?*
- Residents appear alert, dressed, and well cared for?
- Visiting hours are convenient for family and friends?
- Overall atmosphere is clean comfortable and secure?
- Is there a vacancy available?
Source: Virginia Department for the Aging, part of the Virginia Department for the Aging and Rehabilitative Services