Finding a good assisted living home for mom or dad requires visiting the facility and online research. Be sur to learn if they are licensed, and if so, find out if they have ever gotten in trouble with the appropriate state licensing bureau.
While there is a great deal of data for skilled nursing, an enormous lack of information online for assisted living makes personally visiting the facility absolutely critical.
You are going to entrust the safety of your loved ones to an unknown group of people so you need to be certain this is the assisted living home for them.
12 key points and questions to ask
Here are 12 key points which will help families understand just how important their evaluation of the assisted living residence really is and questions which need to be answered.
- Staff is the key to everything, especially those who are engaging residents in a variety of activities which helps keep them healthy. If you see people sitting in a corner in wheel chairs and no one interacting with them, this is a bad sign.
- What is the staffing ratio? How many staff per resident?
- Does the facility change staffing when people with higher needs are there?
- Does the facility staff to acuity — does it make staffing decisions based on how sick the residents are? Or does it make staffing decisions based only on the number of residents?
- What kind of activities does it have for residents, and are they documented? Does it document changes of condition, if a resident is eating, falls, reacting poorly to medications, or having appetite changes?
- Does it have either an LVN or an RN, and if so, are they on call or on premises, and if so, when?
- How much does it spend per day per resident for food?
- Has it been cited by the state for regulatory or legal violations?
- Is this a secured facility? Are the doors and windows locked? This is especially important for family members with dementia.
- Is there a fall prevention program?
- Is this a large, corporate-owned facility, or is there an independent owner? This is important because you want people who can make decisions affecting your loved one here and now, not three states and two time zones away.
- Trust your nose. If the place does not smell good, this means they are not cleaning common areas or residents who need it. Having an adequate amount of staff for the resident population is critical.
Visit at different times unannounced
Drop in unannounced at different times of the day and evening, this shows that you care about the welfare of your family member and are involved. It is important to just walk in when they are not expecting you and look around.
For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.