What to Look for When Choosing a Care Facility

Many people hope to live in their own homes for as long as possible. Sadly, when that becomes impossible due to health or safety concerns, choosing a good care facility is sure to top the list of what to do next.

Nursing home administrator
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To help make this difficult decision easier, familiarize yourself with the qualities of a good care facility. Knowing what to look for will empower you to make an informed choice and help you differentiate between high-quality facilities and places you should avoid altogether.

Make sure to consider the following checklist:

Respect for Residents

  • Residents are treated with respect, no matter what their physical or mental condition.
  • The staff is friendly, caring, and supportive while providing the required care.
  • The staff calls residents by their first names, not cheeky nicknames.
  • The staff respects the residents’ privacy. For example, they knock on doors before entering and provide clear communication about all procedures.

A Variety of Activites

  • There is a plethora of social, physical, creative, and educational activities available that appeal to all residents.
  • Interaction with people outside the facility is encouraged, like community groups that bring pets or perform music.
  • Group activities for outside events is commonly planned.
  • Residents are actually busy with things to do and places to go within the facility.

Attractive and Tasty Food

  • Well-balanced, attractively prepared meals are available and served in a pleasant setting that also promotes social interaction.
  • Special meals to accommodate residents’ diet and health problems—as well as their religious and ethical needs—is available.
  • Staff monitors residents’ nutritional intake and promptly notifies family members and/or physicians of poor eating or difficulty eating.

Comfortable Surroundings

  • Every effort is made to keep the facility as home-like as possible.
  • Residents can bring furnishings and family pictures from home to decorate their rooms.
  • The addition of a resident-kept garden can help make people feel more at home and encourage them to spend time outdoors.

Safety and Cleanliness

  • Hallways and doorways are lit and clear of obstacles that can cause injury.
  • No unpleasant odors, such as urine or feces.
  • Residents are well-groomed.
  • Resident quarters are hygienic and orderly, including the bathroom.
  • The facility has a protocol for infection control.

Visitors Welcomed

  • Families, friends, and other potential residents are encouraged to drop in anytime (within reason of course) to see that there is nothing to hide.


  • Beauty salons and barber shops can provide residents with a higher sense of well-being if they take pride in their physical appearance.
  • Readily available internet access allows people to keep in touch, stay up-to-date on current events, and watch movies.
  • Attractive seating areas, artwork, and interior plantscaping lends to a more pleasant environment.

By Marian Anne Eure
Marian Eure, RN, is a registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in adult health care, health promotion, and health education.