If interested in a certain facility, call and schedule a tour. Ask questions. Visit a second time on the weekends or in the evening when some nursing homes have less staff. Spend time talking to residents and staff.
Ask about the nursing home's fire regulations.
Ask about access to medical services and arrangements for handling emergencies.
Are the residents out of their beds during the day? Are they dressed for the season and time of day?
Are the residents engaged in any activity, or are they just sitting with nothing to do? Is there a variety of activities? Are there social functions and religious services?
Is the dining room pleasant? Is the food good, the right temperature, and nutritious? Are snacks available?
Does staff address residents by name?
Does the staff respond quickly to resident calls for assistance?
Do you see a lot of residents physically restrained?
Is rehabilitative care available routinely to residents who need it?
Is the nursing home designed for the needs of older people? Are call buttons in bedrooms and bathrooms? Are there wide doorways and ramps?Are there hand rails where necessary? Is the furniture easy to maneuver around and use?
Are personal mail and documents respected? Are personal possessions safe?
Does the facility have an unpleasant odor?
Visits from family and friends is very beneficial to any nursing home resident. Visits not only offer reassurance to the resident that someone still cares, but those residents whose families and friends are actively involved with them usually have a better outlook on life which contributes to better health.