Evaluating Facilities and Services for Care of Brain Illnesses

Evaluating the Staff and Services


The services you need will depend on the brain health concerns you are coping with. For example, a person with dementia will need to have staff and physicians who specialize in caring for dementia. Some places might have a specific unit or wing for specific brain illnesses.

Services also include activities. This is of particular importance for residential-care facilities. You will want to find out about available activities and scheduling flexibility. Find out whether activities and schedules can be individualized.

It is also important to find out about the type of snacks, foods and drinks that are available. Look for places that offer nutritious and easy-to-handle snacks as well as water or caffeine-free drinks.

You might also want to ask about support services, such as support groups or transportation, that are available for patients and family.


Consistent and well-trained caregivers are very important, especially for people with brain illness. When you visit, try to meet the staff members who are likely to provide care for you or your loved one. Meet the people who direct activities and plan dietary programs. Also find out about staff trainings and the ratio of patients to staff.

Hygiene is an important part of care. Take note of whether you see staff washing their hands or using sanitizer regularly, as well as their attention to the cleanliness of rooms and bedding.

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Written by Madeline Roberts Vann, MPH

Reviewed by George T. Grossberg, MD

St. Louis University School of Medicine

Department of Psychiatry

Last updated August 2008

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