Skilled Nursing Checklist – Questions to Ask During a Skilled Nursing Facility Visit

How to evaluate your loved one’s care options.

Choosing the best care option for your loved one can be a challenging process. After you narrow your list to two or three choices, the next step is to visit each skilled nursing community to find one that feels like home.

If you’re unsure what to look for in a nursing home, checklists are a great way to ensure you leave with the information you need to make an informed choice. In preparation for your visits, here are a few suggestions and a handy skilled nursing facility checklist of questions to get you started in your search for nursing homes.

Suggestion #1: Call ahead to schedule a visit. Try to make your appointment during a mealtime and ask to eat with the residents. This will give you a chance to sample the menu and check the meal variety and quality. You can also get a feel for the ambience, condition and cleanliness of the dining room.

Suggestion #2: A staff member will show you around and answer your questions. Bring this nursing home visit checklist with you so you don’t forget anything. This is also a great time to talk with residents and visiting family members. Ask residents how long they’ve lived in the community and about their experience.

Suggestion #3: Make an unannounced visit a few days later on a different day at a different time – weekends are an excellent choice. See if you notice anything that’s changed about the skilled nursing community. Is there a change in staffing? Are there more or fewer activities going on?

Find out what specific questions to ask a skilled nursing facility

Download the Skilled Nursing Facility Checklist

Community considerations

  • What forms of insurance does the skilled nursing community accept?
  • Can the community provide the specialized medical services your loved one needs?
  • Is the community close enough geographically for friends and family to easily visit?
  • How long has the community’s management team worked together?

Resident comfort

  • Are the residents well-groomed and dressed properly for the time of day, season and weather?
  • Does the community look and smell clean?
  • Are the furnishings sturdy, clean and well-maintained?
  • Is the community well-lit and not excessively noisy?

Resident/staff relationship

  • Is the staff polite, respectful and friendly toward residents?
  • Does the staff seem happy?
  • Do the residents appear to like the staff?
  • Does the staff wear name tags?
  • Do staff members knock and ask permission before entering a resident’s room?
  • Do the same staff members (nurses and nursing assistants) work with a given resident 4-5 days per week?
  • What’s the staff-to-resident ratio? Does the staff seem rushed, frustrated or overworked?

Resident health and wellness

  • Is a registered nurse (other than the director of nursing) on duty at all times?
  • Do residents receive regular preventive care, such as flu immunizations?
  • Are residents allowed to see their personal physicians?
  • Does the skilled nursing community have an emergency care arrangement with a nearby hospital?
  • Does the community hold care plan meetings at convenient times for family members?
  • Ask to review the last state inspection report. Have all deficiencies been corrected? If not, what is the community’s plan to correct them?

Resident safety

  • Does the community perform staff background checks during the hiring process?
  • Are all exits clearly marked?
  • Does the community have sprinklers and smoke detectors?
  • Do the hallways and bathrooms have hand or grab rails?
  • Are all common areas, rooms and doorways designed for easy wheelchair access?
  • Does the community have an evacuation plan and hold regular fire drills?

Residents’ rooms

  • Can residents have personal furniture and/or belongings in their rooms?
  • Does each resident have separate personal storage space?
  • Does each room have a window?
  • Does each resident have a telephone and television?
  • Can residents choose their roommate?
  • Does the community have policies and procedures to protect residents’ property?
  • Does the community have quiet, private areas where residents can meet with visitors?

Residents’ meals and activities

  • Do residents have a choice of foods at each meal?
  • Are nutritious snacks available?
  • Do staff members assist residents at mealtimes if needed?
  • Are activities available to all residents, including those who are unable to leave their rooms?
  • Does the skilled nursing community have outdoor areas for residents who wish to go outside?
  • Does the community have a volunteer program?

We encourage you to add your own questions to this nursing home visit checklist to ensure that both you and your loved one feel great about the community you choose.

To learn about health services at Rolling Green Village, including assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, or to simply discover more questions to ask a skilled nursing facility, use our contact form or call 864-987-9800. We’d love to help you make the best decision for you and your family.