What should you look for when selecting a home?

The decision to place someone in assisted living or a nursing home is always difficult.  Media stories and publicity can make the choice even more troubling.  Here are a few steps to help you make a good decision:

1. Tour the facility,  look for evidence of cleanliness and the absence of odors.  Return later to make the same observations during a different shift.


2. Meet the administrator and head nurse.  See if one or the other can direct your tour and ask the staff if they see these management people out of their offices and active in the building.


3. Meet the staff members working in the therapy areas and ask to observe them working with residents.


4. Find out if there is a residents' council composed of representative families and those living in the facility and the names of individuals you might contact.


5. Ask how the nursing home was rated during its last state survey and if there were any deficiencies. To double check, log on to the Medicare nursing home information web site and follow the directions to find the names of the homes you are considering.


6. Go to our Frequently Asked Questions page and download a checklist for visiting a home.