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A care facility is needed when a person can no longer care for themselves and/or the caregiver can no longer provide the level of care required. Care facilities may include assisted living, a skilled nursing home, or a dementia care unit. Here is a checklist to help evaluate care facilities.

-Cost. Check the costs and determine what is covered by private insurance or public health programs. You must select a facility that is certified by these programs if you are to receive benefits.

-Location. Choose a facility that is close to those who will visit the patient often and/or are responsible for their care.

-Needs. Find a facility that meets special needs if the patient needs care for other medical conditions.

-References. Friends, relatives, local clergy, senior groups, social workers, and the local Alzheimer’s Association are helpful in finding and evaluating facilities.

-Licensing. Check the professional licensing of the facility.

-Rating. Some are rated on the Internet, others with governmental agencies.

-Personal visit. This is most important.
-Ask to see the entire facility.
-Note how residents interact with the staff.
-Visit at different times of the day and different days of the week, including meal times.
-Ask to see a menu.
-Are snacks available between meals?
-Do they do personal laundry for residents? Is this an additional cost?
-Ask about room availability.
-Are families encouraged to be involved in a person’s care?
-Is the staff trained in dementia care?
-What training does the staff receive?
-Is medical aid available at all times, i.e., doctors and nurses on the premises?
-What is the ratio of patients to staff?
-What activities are offered?
-Is transportation provided for medical appointment and/or shopping for personal items?
-Are physical, occupational, and speech therapies offered?
-Are religious services available?
-Are holiday celebrations observed?
-Is the facility free of unpleasant odors?
-Are areas safe, secure, and monitored?
-Is the facility easy to navigate?
-What is the condition of resident rooms?
-What is the condition of the common rooms: Reception, dining room, activity rooms?
-Can residents bring familiar items with them, i.e., photos, blankets, books etc.
-What is the noise level?
-Are pets or visits by pets allowed?
-As the person’s needs change, what care is available? For example, a person may start with assisted living and later need a memory care unit.
-Do they provide an escort to the emergency room if a visit is required?
-Do they have end-of-life services such as Hospice care?