Evaluating Assisted Living Facilities
This checklist provides a useful tool when investigating and evaluating Residential Care for the Elderly or Assisted Living Facilities. The checklist is divided into two sections: Quality Dimensions and Practical Dimensions.
Although the quality dimensions are crucial, they need to be balanced by practical considerations. If the "best" home in an objective analysis is not affordable or is too far away to visit frequently, it will probably not work for the resident or the family members. Depending on the person's needs and preferences, some questions will be more important than others. Also refer to the Dementia Care Checklist.
In using the checklist, keep in mind the following general tips:
- Start the process early before there is a crisis.
- Involve the prospective resident as much as possible in the process.
- Use the checklist to get an overall feel for the facility and its practices.
- Pay special attention to how residents are being treated by staff and the quality and responsiveness of the services. Don't be sold only on the attractiveness of the facility.
- Narrow the options down to two or three facilities.
- Visit each facility several times.
- In making visits, walk through the whole facility and visit at different times.
- Drop by unannounced and visit at night and/or on the weekend.
- Make sure that you visit during a mealtime.
- Obtain a copy of the admission agreement. Read it carefully. Understand the services, costs and conditions for transfer.
Before you make a final decision, check the latest annual survey report and any other citations issued by the state licensing agency. Facilities should make these reports available to you upon request.
- Do the admission criteria match my needs?
- Have I reviewed the terms of the financial/provider agreement?
- Is the unused portion of the rent refunded upon transfer/discharge?
- Do I have a choice in the selection of medical/health care providers if additional services are needed?
- Are the specific services offered clearly identified in the agreement?
- Have I reviewed the house rules?
- Have I reviewed all of the reasons for which I may be transferred of discharged?
- Is the facility licensed by the state and in good standing?
- Is the facility Medicaid certified?
- Is the bedroom private or shared?
- Is the bathroom private or shared?
- Are the shared areas clean?
- Is there space for personal belongings?
- Does the floor plan allow for easy mobility for me?
- Are there private areas other than the bedroom for visits?
- Is bathroom safety equipment installed or available if needed? (grab bars, raised toilet seat)
- Is there a call system?
- Are walkers/wheelchairs permitted?
- Are hallways and doorways wide enough for wheelchairs?
- Am I involved in the care planning process?
- Is my family/responsible party involved?
- Is my physician or other health provider involved?
- Are the care plans updated to reflect changes in care needs?
Does the facility provide:
- Assistance with dressing?
- Assistance with bathing?
- How many times per weeks is bathing provided?
- Assistance with toileting?
- Assistance with incontinency? Does this include assistance with bowel and bladder?
- Assistance with transfers from wheelchair to bed, etc.
- Assistance with medications?
- What is the operator/administrators training?
- Do staff receive training to work with special needs or behaviors, such as dementia?
- Is there high staff turn-over?
- What is the ratio of staff to resident?
- Are staff awake at night?
- Are specialized diets available?
- Are cultural or ethnic preferences considered?
- Are residents involved in menu planning?
- Can residents help with meal preparation and have access to the kitchen?
- Are snacks/beverages readily available between meals?
- Are extra helpings and substitutions available?
- Are activities available within the facility?
- Does the facility take residents on outings?
- Is somebody designated to conduct activities?
- Would my interests match the level/type of activities provided?
- Are there residents I can socialize with?
- Is there a written schedule of activities?
- Does the facility provide transportation?
- Does facility inform family/physician when an unusual event occurs?
- Do you feel comfortable talking with the:
- Is the grievance procedure easily understood?
- Is telephone use accessible and conducive to privacy?
- Have I toured the entire facility?
- Have I observed the kitchen and pantry?
- Have I observed a meal?
- Does the atmosphere seem pleasant?
- Does there seem to be enough staff available?
- Are pets allowed?
- Do residents seem happy and engaged?
- Do residents appear to be clean, groomed and odor-free?
- Have I observed for staff/resident interaction?
- Have I observed for cleanliness and odors?
We realize that making the decision to place a loved one in a care facility can be difficult. When making your final selection keep these tips in mind:
- Trust your initial feelings and reactions.
- Try not to make a hasty decision. There are many homes from which to choose.
- Consider the location of the home. Your presence and involvement in the facility is important to the care your loved one receive.
- Make an unannounced visit after your initial tour.
- Talk to residents.
- Ask for references.
- Ask to take home copies of the admission packet and house rules.
- Take the time to review the materials and, ask lots of questions.
This checklist was produced with content provided by The RCFE Consumer Project and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.