Before making any sort of decision about where your loved one will go, you need to take a tour of the facility. This is a crucial element when selecting the right facility for your loved one. How can you know the home is the right one without seeing inside the building? If a tour is not offered, then walk away. When preparing to take a tour, outline on paper what you want to see and any questions that you need to ask. Go on a tour ready to see the building fully and with a list of objectives for you to achieve.
Here are some key tips for getting the best out of a tour:
- Prepare a scoring system: Before going through the door have a list of important items you wish to see and questions that you want answered. Draw up a scoring system, so that if you are taking more than one tour, which you should, you can compare and contrast your evaluations. Some items will need to score high, while others may not be as important. Having a good rating system in place will help you objectively measure different facilities.
- Look at everything: By drawing up a list in advance of a visit you will know what you are looking for in a care home. Ask to see the kitchens where food is prepared and a weekly menu plan. Look to see the activity rooms and the daily schedule for the patients. Go see the bedrooms and see if there are private ones offered as well as semi-private or shared rooms. Look at the landscaping, as that is what your loved one will be looking at when they come to stay. Go see the laundry, the bathrooms and all common areas. It’s important for you and your loved one to be happy with what you see.
- Staff: Meet with staff and see how they measure up against your expectations. Ask about their qualifications.. Talk to them and see how they do things and how a day in the life of the home operates. The staff is a good indicator of how the care home is run and you can judge if it is suitable by how they come across in an interview. You want to make sure they have the knowledge, skills and demeanor to provide the best care to your loved one.
- Allocate Time: Give yourself plenty of time to spend at the facility during your visit. Do not expect to just walk in and out and then be able to make an informed decision. Schedule your tour when you have a couple of hours free to properly see everything.
- Take a second tour: Always come back for a second visit. Schedule it for a different time of day and maybe even arrive early. You want to see the home outside of a regular tour and see if it still operates as you would like it to. When taking the second tour, double check on what you noticed the first time around and keep an eye out for anything new.
- Leave if unhappy: This is your time and do not waste it on a home that is not suitable from the start. It will not get better and those first impressions are usually correct. You do not need to explain yourself and always remember that you are looking for the right fit for your loved one.
A tour is a vital part of the decision process. Take all the above points into consideration before and after any tour and think of your loved one living there and whether or not they will thrive in the environment you’ve seen.