About quality of life. Does your loved one participate in activities? Are there options beyond bingo and movies? Do residents take excursions outside the home? Is your loved one dressed in her own clothes when you visit, or is she wearing a hospital gown?
What to Observe
About visitors. Is the parking lot full? Are grandchildren or family and friends around?
About resident engagement. Are many activities available or just bingo nights? Is the facility creative, regularly offering outings to museums or baseball games, art classes, or gardening on the grounds? Does it bring in volunteers to perform skits or music? Are there younger people or kids doing activities with residents?
About quality of life. Are residents dressed in hospital gowns or their own clothes? Are residents out of their rooms and doing things, or are they just lying in bed or gathered around a TV? Do they appear groggy or unaware of their surroundings, or are they actively engaged with one another and with staff?
About incontinence. Do you smell urine or strong antiseptic cleaners that may be covering up the smell?
About staff. Are staff members busy helping and talking with residents? Or are they unengaged, standing apart and talking among themselves? What tone does the staff use with residents? Are they addressed politely, by name? Are call lights on or blinking because residents need help in their rooms? Do the lights go out—meaning the person got the needed assistance—in a reasonable amount of time?
About nourishment. At mealtime, are residents who need help with eating getting assistance from a staff member? Or are trays placed in front of them—or set in their room—and picked up untouched? Is fresh drinking water readily available in the rooms and common areas?
About Saturday and Sunday. Staffing may be lighter on weekends, but do residents still have the help they need? Are weekend activities scheduled?
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