Resource Guide for Family Caregivers
Preparing for the move to a facility

Once the decision has been made that placement in a facility is necessary, people are often faced with the ―what next‖ question. Because facility ―personalities‖ differ, it is very important to be prepared (as prepared as possible) for the move, when it arises. Part of this preparation involves:

  • Preparing a list of questions so that you can collect as much information as possible about the facilities that interest you.
  • Contacting the facilities and taking a tour with your family member who will be going into care.
  • Taking care of preparatory details in advance, to help you and your family member feel more comfortable about the move.

A number of written resources exist that aim to assist family caregivers and care receivers to prepare for the process of facility placement. Categories of these checklist questions include:

  • General atmosphere
  • Staff
  • Meals and food services
  • Residents’ rooms
  • Hygiene 
  • Grounds
  • Communication
  • Socializing
  • Activities
  • Religion
  • Financial
  • Doctor
  • Health care

Along similar lines, Jan Robertson, the Administrator and Director of Resident Care at Beckley Farm Lodge (Victoria), wrote a helpful article on ―Preparing for the move to facility care‖. Sections of this article are reprinted with permission below:

What furnishings can you take?

  • Ask the facility for information on room sizes,  furnishings provided by facility,  any limitations on the type, size and/or amount of personal furnishings which can be brought in.
  • Select small items of furnishings that will be useful, sturdy and easy to maintain.
  • Decide on disposition of remaining furnishings (sale, gifts, etc.).

What clothing should you bring?

  • Assume you will need more than usual due to laundry cycles.
  • Check clothing for launderability (avoid clothes that require special care or dry cleaning, if possible).
  • Spring clean‖ your closets and dispose of clothes which do not fit or you do not wear.
  • Ensure clothing is easy to put on and/or take off.
  • Replace worn clothing with washable items.
  • Invest in shoes and slippers with low heels and good support.
  • Temporarily mark a few items with your name. (Most facilities have special labeling equipment that provides labels to survive the laundering process).

What personal items should you include?

  • Pictures and photographs for hanging on walls
  • Door hanging to help identify who is in the room
  • Bedspread or throw for the bed
  • Telephone (and address book)
  • Television (with earphones preferably cordless)
  • Radio
  • Clock
  • Books
  • Writing materials
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, denture cup (if used) and toiletries

What NOT to bring

  • Medications (prescription or over the counter)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Firearms
  • Furnishings or equipment that need repair
  • Irreplaceable heirlooms or jewellery

Note: to avoid loss and hasten the return of personal items, it is important to permanently mark the following items with the person’s name:

  • glasses
  • dentures
  • hearing aids
  • canes
  • walkers
  • wheelchairs
  • photographs
  • pictures
  • ornaments