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Check with yourStates Long term care ombudsman. That is the best place to start.
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We recently put my father-in-law in an ALF. The best advise I can give is to try to talk to the residents and/or their families. Also, visiting on evenings and weekends is a good idea. That is when their staff is at the minimum.

Our experience showed that even though the facility was nice and the people were kind and hardworking (and underpaid), the facility was not able to provide near the services that they advertised and charged for. They talked the talk, but did not walk the walk.

I think these places have high turnover of staff. I would ask how long the director has been there. We went through six directors in five months. This caused a real issue in some of the paperwork that was dealt with. Also, I would ask how many residents there are and what is the minimum number of aides present at any given time. We found out at times like evenings and weekends, there was only one aide for the whole place! Sometimes, it takes 2 people to help a resident!

Also, some family physicians visit ALFs and could have some insight for you, but my best advice is to try to talk to family members of the residents.
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Check the state websites also you can check with the local Ombudsman office as they investigate complains for facilities both NH and Al. Good luck to you
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You can check out Medicare ratings on Medicare.gov.
The Dept of Public Health for your state (CDPH) in California.
These should give any complaints lodged against the facility and the overall rating. An "in person" unscheduled visit at off hours should give an idea of care level as well.
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Check out the archives of your local newspaper. If there are major problems they make the paper.

Also most states have regulatory agencies that you can get health information.

Visit in the evening when the best people aren't there. If they're still happy concerned staff that's also a good sign.
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The reports soverytired mentioned also includes results of state inspections in my home state. You might also visit on a weekend and ask some of the families coming or leaving a visit how their loved one like it and are they (visitor) satisfied? Understand that no place is perfect so assess what is most important to you and your loved one and focus on that. Good luck
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Ask the assisted living facility if you can view their complaint record. There should be a notebook in a public area like the lobby or family lounge with this information.
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