Choosing a Long Term Care Home Checklist


Physical Facility

  • Are visitors screened at entry to the Home?
  • How many residents live in each home area or pod?
  • Is there a separate unit for persons with dementia or behaviour problems?
  • How many floors are there? Is there a sufficient number of elevators?
  • Does the home have air conditioning? Are resident rooms temperature controlled?
  • Does the home have a current emergency plan, including details for evacuating all residents?
  • Is a public bulletin board visible and does it include the following:
    • Residents’ Bill of Rights
    • Monthly program of activities
    • Formal complaint process for residents and family members
    • Emergency Evacuation Plan
    • Recent accreditation and/or inspection report
    • Minutes of recent Resident Council and Family Council meetings


  • What are the visiting hours? Are there any restrictions on visiting?
  • Is there a functioning Family Council?
  • How is the community involved with the home? Is there a volunteer group?

Daily Life for a Resident

  • Are residents’ rooms inviting?
  • Are the size of the rooms and access to the washrooms satisfactory?
  • How many residents share a washroom?
  • What furnishings are provided by the Home? Are they in good repair?
  • What furnishings can residents bring?
  • Can residents personalize their room (i.e., hang pictures)?
  • Can residents connect a telephone, cable/satellite TV? Is there a technology support person available?
  • Is a call bell or communication device within easy reach in resident rooms and common areas?
  • Is there equipment to assist people with physical disabilities? (built-in or portable transfer lifts?)
  • What personal belongings may residents bring?
  • Is there an option for keeping personal belongings secure (locked drawers)?
  • Is there adequate storage for seasonal clothing?
  • How does the staff handle residents going into another resident’s room?
  • Is there privacy in the resident’s room?
  • Are areas provided in the home for private visits with residents?
  • Is shared accommodation available for couples?
  • Is the resident/family responsible for personal supplies? (i.e., tissues, lotion, toothpaste)
  • What are the rules regarding smoking, alcoholic beverages, and cannabis use?
  • What is the policy regarding pets in the Home?
  • What is the policy for short stay absences, vacations, and medical leaves?


  •  Is there a full-time Activity Director on staff?
  • What activities are offered to residents? Request a monthly program of activities.
  • Are there programs and services available to meet diverse cultural needs?
  • Is there a social worker and/or spiritual care practitioner?
  • Are residents taken regularly (daily) to activities if they cannot go on their own?
  • Are activities provided at the bedside for residents if needed?
  • Are safe outdoor areas easily accessible to residents? How often are they taken outside?

Meal Services

  • What are the hours when meals and snacks are served?
  • Ask to see a sample menu. Do the meals seem varied and appealing? Are there choices available on the menu?
  • Are special diets accommodated?
  • Are meals served in an orderly and respectful way. (if possible, tour at mealtime)
  • Are residents with feeding problems assisted in a timely manner?
  • If a resident misses a meal, will one be offered later?
  • Can residents dine in their own rooms?
  • Can residents bring in their own food?
  • Are family members or friends able to have an occasional meal with the resident?

Staffing and Staff Training

  • What is the ratio of personal support workers to residents? (The ratio will be different during the day and at night.)
  • How many registered nurses are there during the day, evenings, overnight?
  • What training is compulsory for all staff?
  • Are staff trained to work with visually impaired and hearing-impaired residents?
  • Are staff trained in managing difficult and aggressive behaviours?
  • Does the home have a behavioural support program for highly aggressive residents?
  • Does the home have an infection prevention and control specialist on staff?

Medical Care

  • Is there a nurse practitioner on staff who provides regular care to all residents?
  • Who are the physicians that service the home? How often do they visit?
  • Is a physician on call 24 hours a day? What is their response time?
  • Is there good communication with the medical team?
  • Do residents have access to a palliative care program in the home?
  • Is there a designated palliative care room?
  • Are family members provided palliative care information and support to make end-of-life care decisions?
  • Are there provisions for family members to stay overnight with a seriously ill or dying resident?

Approach to Care

  • What is the home’s policy on cardiopulmonary resuscitation? (You will be asked to decide upon admission about the level of restorative care to be administered.)
  • Are residents and family (or substitute decision makers) actively involved in the case conferences and planning for the resident’s care?
  • Are the quarterly resident assessments and care plans available to residents and family (or substitute decision makers)?
  • How often are the care plan review meetings held?
  • Does the home focus on individual needs? For example, if a resident wishes to go to bed at a specific time, would that be accommodated?
  • How often are residents bathed? Do residents have a choice of showering or bathing?
  • What are the home’s policies on restraints and medication to manage behaviour?

Additional Services

  • Are physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and other support services available at the resident/family request? How are these services arranged and funded? How frequently are they available?
  • Are dentists and dental hygienists available to provide dental care? Who arranges for this? How are these services funded?
  • What foot care is provided?
  • What vision care is provided?
  • Can residents bring in paid personnel/service providers to supplement care? If so, are background checks a requirement?
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130 Merton St, Suite 600
Toronto, ON M4S 1A4