Things To Consider
Licensing and Certification
Is the facility licensed by the State? Is the facility's current license on display? Review the State's inspection of the home. If the facility is not willing to give you their latest report, you can go on line to view it: www.dleg.state.mi.us/brs_afc/sr_afc.asp.
Be wary of any facility not willing to show you their latest inspection report. A facility can have their license renewed by "correcting" violations. Are you okay with the type of violations that were notes? A licensed facility also has to pass the State fire inspection prior to their license being renewed.
Even though you may have set up an appointment to discuss your loved one's placement, walk into the facility unannounced: what is your first impression? Does the staff greet you? Are their families visiting loved ones?
Are residents greeted by their names and are you allowed to interact with them during your visit? Are you encouraged to talk to residents and/or families about how they like living there? Is staff appropriately dressed, friendly and outgoing?
Find out if there are visiting hours, or can you come any time to visit your loved one?
Is the floor plan easy to follow? Most elderly people with even minor dementia can become confused when it appears like a maze to get from their room to the dining room. Is the home clean, free of odors and un-cluttered?
Are you allowed to decorate your loved one's room with personal belongings? This is very important when dementia is present. Can your loved one have a phone in their room? Cable TV? If outdoors is important, is there a courtyard or area where your loved one can safely enjoy the weather?
If your loved one is a ‘flight risk', how does the home manage wandering? Do they have a secured section?
What services are available for your loved one? Are families encouraged to participate in the development and maintenance of the care plan? Is care provided 24 hours a day? How are medical emergencies handled?
How are prescriptions handled? Do doctors make regular visits or do you have to take your loved one out to the doctor? Are physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and other services available in the home?
What happens if the resident's health deteriorates? At what point will I have to move him/her?
What's involved with the moving in/out process? How is the initial assessment performed? How often will re-assessment take place? What happens if the resident goes out to the hospital?
Is there a written statement of resident's rights and responsibilities? How much is the monthly fee? Is this all inclusive or will my rate keep going up as needs change and services are added?
For many elderly, meal times are the highlight of the day. These periods allow for socializing and a favorite food can make the day just seem better. Are three meals and snacks offered seven days a week? Are special diets (diabetic, low sodium, pureed, etc.) accommodated?
Are weights monitored for each resident? Are special menus prepared for holidays? Can residents have quests dine with them? What is the additional charge for this? If a resident requires a meal in their room, is there an extra charge?
Will the facility work with me to obtain the Veteran's Aid and Attendance tax free benefit? Will they work with me on my long term care insurance policy? Does the facility offer any special promotions or benefits?
Staff to Resident Ratio
As a licensed facility, there are specific staff to resident ratios that must be maintained. The number can be as high as 15 residents to one Aide. Ask what the ratio is during each shift. Ask if there is a manager or supervisor present during each shift.
How do I reach the Administrator if I have concerns? Is he/she on site or will I have to wait for a call from a corporate office? Are the owners a big corporation or someone local? What is the process for addressing questions or concerns?