Touring a Care Facility

If you may be wondering whether or not you should make an appointment to tour a care facility? The simple answer is, yes, you certainly should—especially if you have already considered the option of moving yourself or a loved one to a care facility. Finding the right care facility is an extremely important part of making sure your loved one gets the right care for his or her personal needs. A lot of people will recommend making multiple visits to facilities while you’re in the middle of the decision-making process. For the initial visit, make an appointment through the admissions director to take a tour during the weekday. The best times to get a good handle on the day-to-day operations of the facility are normally late morning or midday hours.

Once you are at the facility, be on the lookout for any bad smells, residents who might be strapped into wheelchairs, and staff who seemingly ignore residents in general. One of the best things you can do is to speak with the residents themselves and see how they’re doing and how they like the facility. Above all else, trust your instincts; first impressions matter, and if something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.

While you’re touring the facility, make sure to ask your guide (again, normally the admissions director) lots of questions, and make sure to verify any information you were given via phone. Don’t worry about taking up their time; they have this scheduled for you, so don’t be afraid to get all your questions answered. Some of the questions you might want to ask include:

  • Is the facility a non-profit or for-profit?
  • What types of care do they offer?
  • Is the facility certified by Medicaid and Medicare?
  • What is the normal length of stay at the facility?
  • What are the qualifications of the staff in the therapy department?
  • What makes this particular facility different from the others you’ve visited (if this isn’t your first one)?
  • Does the facility include family members when making care plans for the resident?

Another recommended step is to use Medicare’s “Nursing Home Compare” by going to viewing the most recent state inspection survey results for any nursing homes you might be considering. 

The Nursing Home Compare provides detailed information regarding the past performance of every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home nationwide. Be sure to compare the number of deficiencies cited to the average number within your state. If a facility has gotten a citation in a particular area of service, be sure to ask questions regarding this area. Be wary of choosing a facility that has an extremely high number of deficiencies compared to other facilities in the area and the state average.

If you follow the suggestions listed above, you’ll have a much better chance of finding a facility that both you and your loved one will be happy with, and you can rest easy knowing that they’ll be receiving the best possible care they can get.