Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

Choosing Assisted Living Facility

When it comes to the care of our elderly family members, we want to make sure they are well taken care of. Oftentimes, that may mean moving them to a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Tips for Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

assisted living facilityOne of the first things you should look at is whether the facility is licensed because not all are. Why do you want the facility to be licensed? It affords more protections but you can also file a complaint with the state licensing agencies that oversee assisted living.

Obtain a referral from family or friends who have already been through the decision-making process. They may have information about the facilities you are considering or may want to add to your list.

Check with the state or local ombudsman program to see if the facilities you are considering have had any complaints filed against them.

Find and review any survey or inspection reports about the facilities you are considering. This can be found at the Consumer Voice website. Choose your state and then look for “Licensure and Certifications.”

Get a list of the services that will be included in the facility’s rate plus find out what additional services are offered and the cost. You can then compare included services at each of the facilities you are considering and also determine if there are services you want to add.

Always review the disclosure forms. If they are not offered to you, be sure to ask form them. Be sure to obtain a copy of any restrictions and the facility’s policies.

Always obtain a copy of the contract and make sure that you read through it. This should outline the services provided and the fees. Don’t be afraid to have it reviewed by an attorney either.

If your loved one has specific needs, be sure to ask what services are provided or if it is a condition they are skilled in taking care of. Ask questions so that you understand how your loved one will be cared for and what training the staff has had.

Find out what options are available to pay the bill. For instance, does the facility participate in the Medicaid program?

Make sure you discuss your loved one’s routines and preferences that are important. You also want to know who determines if the services provided need to change.

Always ask about the staff’s experience, training and education as well as any continuing education requirements. Another good thing to know is whether the facility conducts national or state background checks on employees.

Find out the staff-to-resident ratio on each shift and how many hours a day a registered nurse is on-site.

Always take a formal tour of the facility but also stop in unannounced on different days and different times so you get a feel for how things work.

Find out what activities are offered and whether residents are taken off-site. Obtain a copy of the activities calendar.

Ask if the facility provides any transportation services and how far or for what it is used.

Six Steps toward Quality Care

According to the Consumer Voice:

  • Be Informed. Know your rights and the facility’s responsibilities.
  • Create a Circle of Support, people that you trust and who can advocate for the care you need.
  • Participate in your care — ask questions, speak up, involve your circle of support.
  • Develop a positive relationship with staff and treat them with the same respect and appreciation that you expect.
  • Communicate. Always ask questions if you don’t understand something and be sure the staff knows about any concerns you have.
  • Know where to turn with questions and concerns.


Nursing home resident_abuseAlways be watchful for any signs of neglect, too. You might find the following blog posts helpful.

If you do see signs of nursing home neglect or improper care, contact a personal injury attorney where you can learn more about your options.

Our knowledgeable staff is available at (877) 284-6600.


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