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HealthInfo Canterbury

Checklist to compare residential care facilities

We suggest you consider the following questions when comparing residential care facilities. This list is by no means complete. We hope it stimulates you to ask other questions. You may wish to add your own questions.

Atmosphere

Staff should show warmth and empathy with residents. There should be a noticeable involvement in conversation, activities (active or passive) rather than residents sitting around the edge of the lounge where it is difficult to connect with others. The resthome or hospital should have a comfortable, inviting and confident feel about it.

Rooms

Residents' rooms should be clean and comfortable and have enough floor space. Consider how practical a full ensuite might be (especially if you need assistance). They are often not essential. Communal areas should be accessible for your dining, relaxation and activity needs.

Care

A current, regularly updated care plan for each resident should be kept by the staff. If you keep your own GP you may find this costs more.

Activities

There should be a range of activities for those who wish to be involved and alternatives for those who do not. A list of the week's activities, outings or events should be on display.

Meals

Meals should be varied, interesting, nutritious and appropriate (for example, some people may require a soft diet). A daily menu should be on display.

Safety

The facility should have systems and procedures in place to ensure resident safety. Staff should be confident with all emergency drills.

Dignity, privacy and independence

Residents should be encouraged to keep their individuality and make their own decisions; however, staff also need to be sensitive and make sure that things that have been important to the person in the past are not neglected, such as applying make-up and shaving, and so on. These things help the person keep their dignity too.

General

In addition to the previous questions, those looking for dementia or specialist hospital care may also wish to consider the following:

Specialist dementia and specialist hospital care

If viewing a secure facility, enquire about what is provided for the special needs of residents. Staff in these facilities should be trained in this specialised area of care.

You can view the Ministry of Health/District Health Board standard contract by visiting the Ministry of Health website.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Source: Care Publications ‘Where from Here' March 2012 www.carepublications.co.nz. Updated November 2017.

Page reference: 53015

Review key: HIRRV-48277