Tours provide an excellent opportunity for Long-Term Care Homes to display their surroundings and services, all the while attracting potential Residents.
From a marketing perspective, most often the home preview is set for a specific, predictable tour route and unless the informed consumer asks questions; there is no diversion to alternate areas.
Tip Number 1: Room configurations, and room sizes in homes may differ. Ask to see the room types: basic, semi and/or private.
If you are shown one room type in each desired category (basic, semi, and/or private) on your tour, ask to see other examples: 2 of each type for comparison. This will also allow the opportunity to assess the differences between the preplanned tour route rooms, and the spontaneously chosen alternate rooms.
Do both rooms size up equally, were both equally clean and tidy, and were the surrounding home areas equal in appearance?
Tip Number 2: Ask to see where postings of government inspections are placed, as well as the minutes for the Family and Resident’s councils. In Ontario, the Ministry of Health and Long-term care (MOHLTC) inspection results are available online, but should be posted and accessible for public viewing: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/ltc...
Reading the meeting minutes and reviews of the Residents and Families provides a direct understanding of the positive attributes of the home, and areas where improvement may be warranted. Equally interesting is the home’s response to the concerns raised in the minutes and their problem solving solutions to rectify issues.
Tip Number 3: Often the outdoors of a home are not included in the tour route. With the growing tide of individuals living with dementia, it would be practical to ask if there is an accessible outdoor space where individuals with cognitive and memory changes can walk independently.
Having the freedom to venture outdoors, may enhance adaptation to a new environment, potentially reduce possible responsive behaviours, and improve quality of life.
At the same time query if recreation staff work weekends and evenings; remember these are the home staff who develop those meaningful activities (that I am so passionate about), and they organize and provide opportunities for planned socialization.
Think about the tour as the ultimate opportunity to make the best choice possible for you or your loved one's Forever Home. If your role is to provide information to another person: place yourself in their shoes. Are you willing to make a life impacting choice without preparation? This may very well be their last major decision and you have been entrusted as a valued confidante to help in the selection process.
Watch my blogs for further tips and strategies when looking for the right home choice for your unique family. When downloading the free Elderpilot mobile LTC app, be sure to check out the resource manual (press the wavy lines on the upper left corner on the screen) to access a world of information in the comfort of your home.