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Things to look for in an assisted living facility

Selecting an assisted living facility for a family member is a weighty decision. Caregivers, however, can rely on certain standards to judge a facility and help prevent assisted living facility abuse and neglect.  

Assisted living

Assisted living is housing is for people who need different types of health and personal care. This housing may be single rooms, apartments, or shared quarters. It should offer a home-life atmosphere and promote the resident’s independence. Services are provided to help the residents with their daily living needs.

Family and caregivers should review the types of services that are needed. These generally include one to three daily meals, medication monitoring, housekeeping, and laundry, 24-hour emergency care, some health services, social and recreational activities, and personal care such as dressing and bathing.  Adequate, well-trained, and professional staff should be available for 24-hour assistance with daily-living activities.

General issues

Caregivers should determine whether the facility meets state and local licensing requirements and review its insurance requirements, procedures for medical emergencies and its visitation policies. Determine whether the facility has a written care plan for each resident and if it has a procedure for assessing a resident’s service need which is periodically reassessed.

Facility

On-site visits are important. You can see whether residents socialize and appear comfortable and happy. Also, seek the opinions of residents, visitors, and volunteers. You should also consider whether residents would be appropriate housemates for your relative.

The facility and surroundings should have a well-kept appearance. The residence must be clean, odor-free, and properly heated and cooled.

The décor should be attractive, the floor plan easy to follow, elevators should be available, carpet must be secured, and the flooring should be comprised of non-skid material.  Handrails must be available for walking. There should be good natural and artificial lighting and accessible cupboards and shelves.

Health

Review the facility’s policy on medications, the assistance it provides with medications and its record-keeping. Determine whether self-administration is permitted, who coordinates visits from health-care practitioners, and whether a doctor or nurse regularly visits.

Food

Residents must have three balanced meals each day and snacks should be available. Review whether residents can request special foods, whether mealtimes may be flexible, if a resident can have meals in their units and if there are common dining areas.

Attorneys can hold facilities responsible if they do not meet important standards. They can also pursue compensation rights.

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