Once you have made the decision, you
- Establish whether your
love one intends to remain in his or her home
- Identify your love
one’s specific needs and preferences
- Establish a budget
- Determine when your
love one will require this new level of care
Whether you are looking for an assisted living
facility, nursing home or adult family home, look for a place where your
love one will feel safe and secure, while still reveling in the maximum
amount of independence.
Steps to take when selecting a Provider
Step 1: Locating a Provider
It is important to take the time to adequately research potential
providers because the spectrum of quality and cost is substantial. To
access information about providers in your or your loved one's area.
Contact: your local Department of Social and
Health Services (DSHS).
Step 2: Evaluating a Provider
As soon as you compile a list of potential providers, you and your love
one should consider beginning the evaluation process as soon as possible.
Site visits and face-to-face interviews, in particular, can be quite time
consuming. A good way to begin the process is by developing a list of
basic and enhanced questions and then screen potential candidates by
phone. The information that you get from this process should help you and
your love one reduce the list of potential providers.
Below you will find a range of questions suited for various stages of
the evaluation process. Add and subtract questions as you fit, and
remember, no question is inappropriate-you are after all determining the
future well-being of a loved.
- What is the name(s) of
the director/owner of this facility?
- How many years has this
facility been in business?
- What are your fees?
- How many locations are
being managed by your company?
- What is your
availability? Do you have a waiting list?
- What services do you
provide? (e.g. transportation, meals, snacks, etc.)
- What is the
professional extent of your staff? If not on-site, do you have access
to off-site professional services?
- What is the rate of
staff turnover and absenteeism?
- What staff
qualifications to you require when hiring aides?
- Are daily schedules
individualized? Do residents awake on their own accord and decide
their own bed-times, rest-times and outdoor times? Are residents
assisted in using the toilet according to their own bowel and bladder
- Are daily activities
- Is the facility
- Are meals served family
style? Can residents choose what they want to eat and how much?
- What does a resident do
throughout a normal day?
- Does the facility
encourage independence and healthy aging? Is there a physical fitness
program? What other types of stimulating programs both mental and
physical does the facility offer? Are there any intergenerational
programs available? Is there a library?
- Is the facility located
near churches or synagogues, shops, restaurants, public
transportation, etc.? Is the facility easily accessible to friends and
relatives who may wish to visit?
- Are bathrooms equipped
with grab bars by the toilets, bathtubs, etc.?
- Are there ramps for
- Are plants and pets
First Visit Questions:
When touring a facility, speak with the director, as well as some staff
members and residents:
- Ask a resident - What
makes a good day for you? How much choice do you have? Do you know the
other people here - staff and residents?
- Ask a staff member -
How do you like working here? What makes a good day for you? Do you
have a favorite resident?
Look around and observe and ask yourself the
- In general, is the
facilities well-maintained, well-lit, appealing, odor free and clean?
- Does the staff appear
to be supportive and friendly? Do they comfortably interact with
residents? Are they accommodating? Or do they appear to be overwhelmed
- Does the residence feel
homey or does it feel institutional?
- Does the facility have
clearly marked fire exits and smoke alarms?
- Are the hallways and
public rooms noisy?
- Do the activities
appear meaningful or are they just intended to pass the time?
The Unannounced Visit
Once you have narrowed your choices to two or three, arrive for a brief
unannounced visit. It is an excellent means of verifying your overall
impressions. These visits are a way of making sure that "unannounced
visits" are acceptable and that what you have seen so far is, indeed,
Step 3: Selecting a Provider
If you have followed, at least to some degree, the above suggestions,
you and your elder should have a solid impression of the leading provider
candidates. If at this point in the process you are still having trouble
deciding between providers, you might consider going back and reviewing
some other factors, such as cost, and most importantly your gut feeling.
For example, if you're choosing between two highly qualified centers,
essentially equal in all respects but cost, then choosing the most
affordable one may make sense. On the other hand, there will be times that
you will prefer one provider to another for no apparent reason - one of
them just feels right.
While these decisions are, often times, very difficult and are
catalyzed by events beyond our control, the more prepared we are, the more
smoothly the transition will be. With the work that you have put into the
process of evaluating and selecting a care provider, you should feel
secure that you and your love one are making the best decision possible
under the circumstances.