Long Term Care Home Checklist
Wondering what to look for in a long term care home (LTC), for yourself or a family member or friend? This checklist of 9 key ingredients for a happy LTC home may help.
While there are certain to be common features among all nursing homes/long term care homes, each LTC has their own unique ambiance and amenities. Checking out their website and reading online reviews are some good first steps to getting a feel for what they have to offer and their reputation, but you MUST visit each LTC residence in person, in order to gain the full picture.
Make an appointment to view the long term care homes of your choice, and consider the elements below for each location, when prioritizing your preferences. Ask the current residents and their family members for their feedback about these important aspects as well.
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Other Residents – What do the residents (and their family members) of this long term care home have to say about:
- The level of care provided?
- The caregivers?
- Involvement of residents and family in planning the care?
- How welcome family members and visitors feel; visiting hours?
Staff – Are the employees at this long term care residence:
- Friendly and caring?
- Happy to answer questions and find out answers for anything they don’t know?
- Professional and respectful to residents and each other?
- Trained to handle situations where residents may have hearing, vision, or behavioural problems (dementia, aggression, etc.)?
Location – Does this long term care home offer convenient access for:
- Friends and family to visit?
- Public transportation?
- Nearby community amenities (parks, pools, libraries, seniors centres, etc.)?
Waiting List – In this long term care home, how is the waiting list managed?
- Is there a waiting list?
- What is the average time spent on the waiting list before a new resident can be accommodated?
- What factors influence the waiting list (illness, spousal reunification, other)?
Indoor and Outdoor – Does this long term care home have:
- Clean, well maintained, and aesthetically pleasing surroundings and furnishings?
- A home-like atmosphere?
- Open as well as private spaces – for family gatherings and events, or for individual interests?
- Outdoor walkways, gardens and sitting areas?
Room Options – What does this long term care home offer:
- For the type of room you want (private, semi-private, etc.)?
- For spouses to be together?
- In the size of rooms/space available?
- For bathrooms – size, access, and amenities?
- For housing/location of residents that may require specialized care (ie, dementia)?
Services – Does this long term care home provide good options for:
- Food – Choices of food, meal times, common eating spaces, quality of food?
- Activities – Organized, recreational indoor and outdoor activities?
- Spiritual & Cultural – Cultural celebrations and programs, diverse spiritual services and needs?
- Medical – Nursing and doctor support on site? Personal support workers (PSW), and other medical care? Can the residents keep their own family doctors and specialists?
- Therapy – Physiotherapy, occupational/recreational therapy, massage, speech therapy?
- Communication – Convenient telephone, television, and internet services? Is English the only language or are other languages spoken for residents who are ESL?
- Transportation – Easily accessible, frequent group and individual transportation?
- Personal Care Services – Haircuts (barber, hairdresser, and/or salon), foot and nail care, dental care, other grooming services?
- Personal Hygiene – Showering, bathing, shaving, etc?
- Concierge Services & Other Amenities?
Policies and Procedures – Does this long term care residence have written plans and processes in place for:
- Care – Level and type of care provided; use of restraints and medication?
- Safety – Fire and other emergencies processes, inspections/drills and reports?
- Smoking – Policies for smoking/areas?
- Pets / Visitors allowed – Where and When?
- Resident & Family Rights/Councils?
- Outbreaks – Protocols if there is a trend with infection/disease (ie, influenza)?
Fees – In this long term care home:
- What are the base fees and what is included in that (ie, furnishings? bedding? personal supplies? etc.)
- What is covered through co-payments, subsidization, private insurance?
- What services and fees are residents or their family required to pay extra for?
- How are base fees and extra services billed?