Nursing Home Checklist

Senior Comfort Guide is here to help you make an informed decision about which Northeast Ohio facility to choose for your loved one.

Senior Comfort Guide Nursing Home Checklist, download here: nursing-home-checklist

Choosing a Nursing Home, Assisted Living or Independent Living Facility

Medicare has an online source, Nursing Home Compare, which helps you compare nursing homes. Find more information at If you don’t have a friend or family member who can help you look online, visit your local library. You can also call Medicare at 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) and request printed copies of their guide for choosing and comparing nursing homes. TTY users should call 877-486-2048. At Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare, you can see details on health inspections, staffing levels, and other important indicators of a nursing home’s quality. Examining this data, as well as visiting the facilities you’re considering, is vital to making the choice that’s right for you or your loved one. Medicare’s online site and printed guide also provide you with many of the questions you should ask all nursing homes under consideration.

Medicare’s Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home, download here: medicare-nursing-home-how-to-choose

Here are questions to ask the personal at a Nursing Home

What is the Daily Living like at your facility?

  • What social, recreational, religious, and other activities are available?
  • Is there a private place to see family when they visit?
  • May you keep a pet or may your pet visit?
  • What choices do you have in what and when you eat
  • What is your room like and may you decorate it?
  • What is the primary language spoken by staff?
  • What if you require a special diet?
  • What are the rules you’ll be expected to observe and are they provided in writing?

Who is involved in the Health Care at your facility?

  • How does the nursing home prepare the Plan of Care?
  • Which professionals are involved and will you is included in the planning process?
  • Can you choose which family member participates as well?
  • Can you keep your own physician even if that doctor does not visit the nursing home?
  • Can transportation be arranged for office visits?
  • Who will you interact with on a daily basis (nurses, other staff) and will these individuals change frequently or remain relatively the same?
  • What types of therapy are available on-site?
  • Does a social worker visit?
  • Are your medical concerns relayed to your doctor in a timely manner and by whom?
  • What preventive health measures are in place?
  • Are flu vaccines and other immunizations offered?
  • Do various specialists visit regularly, such as a podiatrist, dentist, etc.?
  • In cases of emergency, does the nursing home have a good working relationship with a nearby hospital?

What is the Security like at your facility?

  • If a loved one is sometimes confused or may wander, does the facility have safeguards that will protect him or her?
  • Are personal belongings safe within each resident’s room?
  • Are the facility doors always locked? Only at night? Never?

It is important to visit a facility before you choose

Before you visit, check that your possible nursing home choices are licensed by Ohio and certified by Medicare and/or Medicaid. Then compare staffing levels, health inspection results, and other quality indicators on Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare. After that, you’re ready to visit prospective facilities.

The following comes from The Center’s for Medicare & Medicaid’s brochure, Your Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home.

Nursing Home Checklist:

  • Does the nursing home have the level of care I need?
  • Does the nursing home have a bed available?
  • Does the nursing home offer specialized services, such as a special unit for dementia, ventilator care, or rehabilitation services?
  • Is the nursing home close enough for friends and family to visit?
  • Are the residents clean, well groomed, and appropriately dressed for the season or time of day?
  • Is the nursing home free from overwhelming unpleasant odors?
  • Does the nursing home appear clean and well kept?
  • Is the temperature in the nursing home comfortable for residents?
  • Is there good lighting?
  • Are the noise levels in the dining room and other common areas comfortable?
  • Is smoking allowed? If so, is it restricted to certain areas of the nursing home?
  • Are the furnishings sturdy, yet comfortable and attractive?
  • Does the relationship between the staff and residents appear to be warm, polite, and respectful?
  • Do staff members wear nametags?
  • Do staff members knock on the door before entering a resident’s room? Do they refer to residents by name?
  • Does the nursing home offer a training and continuing education program for all staff?
  • Does the nursing home do background checks on staff members? Do they ensure that staff members have not been found guilty of abuse, neglect or mistreatment of residents; or have a finding of abuse, neglect, or mistreatment of residents in the state nurse aid registry?
  • Is there licensed nursing staff 24 hours a day, including a Registered Nurse (RN) present at least 8 hours per day, 7 days a week?
  • Will a team of nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) work with me to meet my needs?
  • Do CNAs help plan the care of residents?
  • Is there a person on staff assigned to meet my social service needs?
  • If I have a medical need, will the staff contact my doctor for me?
  • Has there been a turnover in administration staff, such as the administrator or director of nurses, in the past year?
  • Can I have personal belongings and furniture in my room?
  • Is there storage space (closet and drawers) in each room?
  • Does each room have a window?
  • Will I have access to a personal phone and television?
  • Do I have a choice of roommates?
  • Are there policies and procedures to protect my possessions, including lockable cabinets and closets?
  • Are exits clearly marked?
  • Are there quiet areas where I can visit with friends and family?
  • Are there smoke detectors and sprinklers?
  • Are all common areas, resident rooms, and doorways designed for wheelchair use?
  • Are handrails and grab bars appropriately placed in the hallways and bathrooms?
  • Do I have a choice of food items at each meal? (Ask if your favorite foods are served.)
  • Can the nursing home provide for special dietary needs (like low-salt or no-sugar-added diets)?
  • Are nutritious snacks available upon request?
  • Does the staff help residents eat and drink at mealtimes if help is needed?
  • Can residents, including those who are unable to leave their rooms, choose to take part in a variety of activities?
  • Do residents have a role in planning or choosing activities that are available?
  • Does the nursing home have outdoor areas for resident use? Is the staff available to help residents go outside?
  • Does the nursing home have an active volunteer program?
  • Does the nursing home have an emergency evacuation plan and hold regular fire drills (bed-bound residents included)?
  • Will I get preventive care, such as a yearly flu shot? Does the facility assist in arranging hearing screenings or vision tests?
  • Can I still see my personal doctors? Does the facility help in arranging transportation?
  • Does the nursing home have an arrangement with a nearby hospital for emergencies?
  • Are care plan meetings held with residents and family members at times that are convenient and flexible whenever possible?
  • Has the nursing home corrected all deficiencies (failure to meet one or more state or federal requirements) on its last state inspection report?