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How to prepare for your visit

What to prepare for and questions to ask

One of the main things to pay attention to is the interaction between staff members and residents. Is it cheerful and respectful? Does it seem like the staff members really care about the residents? If you see multiple residents in the common areas or  having activities, it might signal that the facility is not full, which could mean that they are expanding with a new facility.

Make sure to get a copy of the admissions contract and the resident rules. If you they seem reluctant to part with such information either they could want you to sing a confidentiality agreement stating that you by law wont share the information or you could consider it a red flag. The facility’s contract outlines fees, services provided, and residents’ rights, and explains who will handle medications, how and when reassessments of a resident’s condition happen, and under what circumstance a resident might be asked to leave because he or she needs more services than the facility can provide.

The contract should also specify what happens after a possible hospital stay. Nursing homes are required to hold a room for Medicaid patients, but many assisted-living facilities are not. Make sure you know the rules regarding this kind of situation.

Visit at different times of day, especially around mealtimes and the early evening to see how they are managed at busy and quiet times.

Ask to speak with the residence administrator. “Even if it means coming back for another appointment, this is important,” Carder says. “He or she is the person who sets the mood and philosophy of the whole place.” When you meet, ask to review the facility’s licensing or certification inspection report. This should be readily available to the general public and will outline any complaints or black marks the residence has received during inspections. Ask how any problems were corrected.

Also ask about who will draw up the care plan for your relative and how much input he or she and the family will have.  Ask how the facility will treat your loved ones current and future needs. Specifically with diet-controlled diabetes or someone who might eventually need insulin. How do they handle that? Ask how many employees are designated to each resident. Find out if there is a licensed nurse on duty or on call at all times.  Ask about the staff’s training in case of emergency, what kind of routine do they have and what is their procedure for medication administration.