What to Look for When Touring a Nursing Home

elderly man in nursing home

February 19, 2018

Ellis Law Corporation

Nursing Home

As your loved ones age and come to need assisted living or other long-term care, you may need to find them a nursing home. You want the nursing home you choose, of course, to be conducive to their leading a full and good life. It needs to be clean, safe, and have activities and recreation available. Their rooms and meals should be pleasant and homey.

Most nursing homes have staff dedicated to showing families their facilities. They also have official inspection reports by state authorities. You should ask for a copy to know how the nursing home is rated.

You can receive a guided tour. What should you look for on the tour? Here are some suggestions.

Look for Cleanliness and Excellent Maintenance

Nursing homes should be clean and free from odors. All the areas should be well-maintained. Do the floors look clean and well-scrubbed, for example? Are rooms and common areas clean and well-vacuumed? Are the walls clean, or shabby or dingy?

Be sure to look carefully outside of the lobby. The lobbies of nursing homes are often well-maintained because that’s where guests come. You need to look at the resident rooms and common areas as well. Think of your loved one and where they would be on an average day. Those areas need to be clean and pleasant.

If you notice odors in any nursing home, that could be the result of poor maintenance, especially of bed pans or other resident needs.

Observe How Residents Are Treated

Nursing home residents should be treated with respect and friendliness by everyone concerned. The staff, the people giving you the tour, any medical personnel, and the other residents should all greet each other in a pleasant manner, by name.

Look for treatment that is respectful and in no way implies that senior citizens are “less than.” Belittling treatment can take the form of aggressiveness, humor at the expense of the resident, or even talking about residents in the third person while they are standing there or within earshot. If you see this, it might be a sign that the residents are not treated optimally by the staff, outside consultants, or each other. Poor treatment can make senior citizens withdraw and not participate in community life or even refuse medical treatment.

Talk to Long-term Residents

A good tour should allow you time to talk to residents casually. You should see residents in the common areas for recreation or in dining rooms. Make an effort to talk to them.

Ask how long they have lived in the nursing home. If they are long term, ask how they like it. What do they like about it? Would they recommend it?

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect? Speak with an Attorney

If you ever need an attorney for elder rights or nursing home abuse, the Ellis Law Firm is one your side. We have spent the last 20 years protecting senior citizen rights, in nursing homes and outside them.

Call us today at 310-641-3335 to discuss nursing home and senior care law. The first consultation with a Los Angeles nursing home abuse attorney is complimentary.

Additional Resources on Preparing to Tour a Nursing Home:

  1. How to Tour a Nursing Home. Alzheimers Association. https://www.alz.org/alzwa/documents/tour_nursing_home.pdf
  2. What to Look for When Touring a Nursing Home. Next Avenue. https://www.nextavenue.org/what-look-when-touring-nursing-home/