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Checklist for Nursing Homes / Long Term Care Homes

The following is a check list to take with you when visiting a Nursing Home / Long Term-Care Home:

  • What is the ratio of staff to residents? Generally speaking, the ratio of staff to resident will vary between cognitively intact and cognitively impaired units.
  • What types of services are offered at the facility, for example, are there Pastoral Services, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Social Work, Recreation, Complementary Care, Art Therapy or Music Therapy?
  • Does the facility have specialized units for behavioural problems or medical speciality services?
  • Does the facility have the resources to cater to individuals with dietary restrictions?
  • What is the facility’s policy on abuse?
  • What types of room accommodation are offered at the facility, and given dementia evolves over time, what is the policy on room and unit change?
  • Is the facility for profit or non-profit?
  • Are respite services available?
  • Are there private rooms for family gatherings / family celebrations?
  • Is there a palliative room? Palliative care refers to the end stages of life.
  • Are there any additional charges besides the accommodation cost? Such as, cable, phone or podiatrist cost.
  • Does the facility have ceiling lifts and electric beds for the safety of the clients and staff?
  • Are there restrictions on visiting hours? If they are restrictions on visiting hours, you are encouraged to look elsewhere.
  • Is the facility LGBTQ friendly?
  • Is the facility accessible by public transit?
  • Is laundry done on site? What is the turn around time for the laundry? Generally speaking, facilities that offer laundry on site will have fewer incidences of clients’ items missing than those facilities that send out the clients' laundry.
  • Are the personal belongings of the client itemized and labelled by the facility? Or is this the responsibility of the client / family?
  • What if the personal belongings of the client goes missing, who is responsible for the replacement? Is it the facility or the client / family?
  • What is the maximum vacation time away from the facility?
  • What is the maximum time away from the facility for medical and psychiatric leave? For example, in Ontario the maximum time allowed away from the facility for medical leave is twenty one days, and for psychiatric leave it is forty five days. If the time away exceeds 21 days for medical reasons or 45 days for psychiatric interventions, an additional fee of $53.00 / day is added on to the accommodation cost until the client returns to the home.
  • Are the hallways of the facilities brightly lit and wide to accommodate wheelchairs reasonably well?
  • How clean is the facility? The cleanliness of a facility and the friendliness of staff can be indicative of how well cared for the clients are. What type of furniture is acceptable to be brought into the client’s room upon admission?
  • How many baths are provided per a week to the client?
  • Are private companions allowed to work with clients?
  • Are wheelchairs, walkers and other assistive devices provided to the client free of charge if medically necessary, or is the client responsible for the purchase of these items? If the client is responsible for the purchase of these items, can the client choose their own vendor?
  • How often are care conferences held to discuss the care and well being of the client, and what disciplines can the family expect to be in attendance? Families are encouraged to attend the care conferences as this is your opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have with the entire care team.