Choosing a nursing home whether it is in a private home, a skilled nursing facility or an adjunct arm of a hospital can be a daunting task. However, when a resident or family knows what to look for and expect it can ease the burden considerably.
Nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities are mandated by both federal and state guidelines as to dimensions of a resident’s room. While they may vary a little from state to state, there are minimum guidelines in place. Whether it is a single room or a multiple resident room, there are carefully thought out floor plans to maximize comfort and care for the resident.
All residential rooms in a nursing facility must have an entrance directly off a corridor. The door to the bedroom must swing into the room. The only exception to this rule is a bedroom that opens into a large dining/living/activity area, if they were established before December of 1987. The rooms are required to have an adequate source of artificial light and be equipped in a manner as outlined by a state or federal mandate.
Furthermore, toilet rooms must enter directly into the resident’s room or a corridor. The closet space must be at least four square feet and directly situated in the room. Each room must be equipped with one outside window and the total window area should be one-tenth the size of the room at least. A nurse’s call button must be accessible and readily visible as well.
Single residential rooms have to contain at least 100 square feet of usable floor area. The usable space in a multiple room is at least 80 square feet per bed. The space calculated cannot include space used for closets, wardrobes, entryway, vestibules, lockers or toilets.
A multiple resident bedroom can have no more than four beds per room. Beds must be three feet apart and only three beds deep from the wall. The nursing facility is required to have a minimum of ten feet between walls and built-in storage.
The only exception to allotted square feet is for facilities constructed before December 1987. In that exception, all single rooms must be 90 square feet in area and multiple rooms must have a 70 square feet area per bed. Furthermore, multiple resident rooms must provide visual privacy for each resident and cannot restrict access to the toilet or the entryway.
Finding the right nursing home for a loved one can be confusing but knowing the basic requirements will assist the family or resident in choosing a facility that is clean, bright and has adequate living space. Check with a local ombudsman or your state agency for elder care if there are further questions.