What to Look for in a Care Facility

Before making a decision about placing your loved one in a care facility, it is highly recommended that you visit the facilities that you are considering. You can learn a lot about the facilities by visiting and observing the environment and how staff interacts with residents. Also, you should speak with residents and their family to get a full understanding of life at these facilities. It is recommended that you make a second visit to the facilities on the weekends and evenings, when there is usually less staff and services. If possible, you should take your loved one to visit these facilities with you. It would give you insight into their wishes and help alleviate their fears. There are many considerations when selecting a care facility, including the atmosphere and altitudes of staff, social and medical services, activities, and location. While visiting the facilities, consider going through the following questions:


Atmosphere and Attitudes

  • Are staff kind, caring, and friendly? Do they treat residents with respect and dignity?
  • Do staff interact and speak warmly to the residents and show affection by words and touch? Or do the talk primarily among themselves?
  • Are staff pleasant to you? Do they respond directly and courteously to your questions and comments?
  • Are volunteers and community groups involved in the facility?
  • Do you notice a quick response to call lights?
  • Are there residents calling out? If so, do staff respond quickly and kindly?
  • Is the atmosphere one in which my loved one will be comfortable?
  • Are there other residents with similar background and interests as my loved one?


Residents Appearance

  • Do residents look clean, well-groomed, well-fed, and free from bruises?
  • Are residents out of bed?
  • Are residents dressed and groomed in their own personal style, rather than everyone looking alike?


Location and Physical Environment

  • Is the location convenient for family, friends, and family member's physician?
  • Is the facility, clean, pleasant, and generally odor free?
  • If residents share rooms, how is privacy provided? Are they paired with roommates with similar background and interests?
  • Is there a safe, secure outdoor environment for residents?
  • What security is provided? How does the facility ensure the security of resident's personal possessions?
  • Are there spaces for solitude and quiet? For visits with family and friends?
  • Can residents bring their personal belongings? Do the residents' rooms reflect their personalities and are decorated with personal articles?


Medical and Social Services

  • Can residents' community physicians visit the facility?
  • Does the facility offer the needed services?
  • Are other medical services (dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, podiatrists, etc.) regularly available?
  • Are family and residents encouraged to participate in the development of the resident's plan of care?
  • How often is the care plan reevaluated?
  • Is there a resident council where viewpoint and concerns are addressed?
  • Is there a family council to support and involve families?
  • How are complaints and recommendations addressed?



  • Are residents' spiritual needs met?
  • Are activities varied, stimulating, and age appropriate?
  • Are there opportunities for residents to share their skills and knowledge with others?
  • Are there activities outside of the facility? For examples, shopping trips, movies, and dinners.
  • If a resident is bed-bound, how is his/her activity needs met?
  • Is someone available to assist residents with staying in touch with family members? Example, assist with letter writing, opening, and reading mail, or making telephone calls?
  • Is assistance available to help residents get to activities?
  • Can family members participate in group and holiday activities?



  • Is the menu posted?
  • Is the facility serving what's on the menu?
  • Does the food look well-balanced, attractive and appetizing?
  • Is there a selection of entrees to choose from at each meal?
  • Can the facility meet special dietary needs based on religion?
  • Are special diets available for residents with specific preferences and health conditions?
  • Do residents have to eat meals at a specific time?
  • Can residents choose to eat in dining room or their bedrooms?
  • Can family members bring food and drinks for the resident?
  • Is help available if a resident needs encouragement or assistance during meals?
  • Are snacks available for residents?
  • Can residents keep food in their rooms?