Put some faith into your gut feeling. Don’t ignore something that makes you feel uncomfortable.
You can learn a lot about a facility just by taking a look around. Spend more time evaluating the interactions with staff and residents than the décor. Remember that it will be the people that make the difference, day in and day out.
- Is the facility clean and free of clutter?
- Are the residents engaged in the activities that are scheduled during your visit?
- Are the residents clean and well groomed?
- Do the staff and residents look happy? Are they interacting well with each other?
Keep in mind that this is the resident’s home. Excessive paging and loud, inappropriate conversation may not be conducive to providing a homey environment.
- Are ringing call lights answered promptly?
- Is the conversation between staff and residents appropriate?
- Does the staff seem to know the residents?
- Is there constant overhead paging?
Don’t be alarmed if you pass an area of the building that has an odor. Go back to the area ten minutes later. If it’s still there, or if the odor is everywhere, it may indicate a bigger problem.
- Is there a constant odor throughout the building?
- Do you smell a heavy perfume, possibly masking another odor?
- If it is mealtime, does the meal smell appetizing?
Take time to watch the dining experience. Mealtime is a very important part of the day. Is the facility making the most of it? Are the residents that need assistance getting it?
- If you visit at mealtime, feel free to ask for a guest meal. Is it the same food that the residents are eating?
- Is the temperature of the food appropriate?
- Does it look and taste appetizing?
Safety / Security
You may not be able to pinpoint something that’s making you feel uncomfortable, but you don’t want to go into an important decision like this with reservations. Always feel free to make a return visit at a different time
- Were you greeted by the staff?
- Did the people working there ask why you were in the building? It is important that they know that a stranger is in the building with the residents in their care.