Look at how the skilled nursing facility is set up. Many have a central nursing station and dining area, as well as shared bedrooms and bathrooms. If you prefer a more personal setting with a cozier environment, look for facilities that offer private rooms and bathrooms. Some facilities are also designed for smaller groups instead of one large group. These typically have smaller communal areas and private kitchens or dining areas.
Make sure the facilities you visit are kept clean. Rooms, communal areas and dining areas should not have strong odors, such as urine. Keep in mind that overpowering smells from air fresheners and other deodorizing products could be masking these scents. Furniture and surface areas should not be covered in dirt, dust or other debris. Bedroom and bathroom linens should be cleaned regularly.
Find out as much as possible about the staff at the skilled nursing facilities you visit. Ask about the turnover rate since a lower rate generally indicates more satisfied employees who do their jobs well. You’ll want to look for employees that make you feel welcome and comfortable. Find out how many employees are around on weekends, evenings and weekdays. If you have a condition that requires special care, such as stroke rehabilitation, make sure the facility offers what you need.
Ask about the meals that are served. If you are on a special diet, check if the facility can accommodate your dietary needs. All meals should be nutritious and well-balanced. They should also be cooked under safe conditions in a sanitary environment.
Observe or talk to the residents at the skilled nursing facilities. They should seem alert and happy. Ask them if they enjoy the activities that the facility offers. You can also ask visiting family members for their opinions on the care that their loved ones receive.
Mr. Farrell, who holds a Master’s degree in social work, with a concentration in gerontology and administration from Boston College, is a licensed Nursing Home Administrator. He is widely published and nationally recognized as an educator in the skilled nursing facility industry.