Assisted Living communities are designed to help seniors with their daily tasks of living that have gotten hard to manage. Assisted Living communities can help a senior maintain their independence and quality of life. While senior communities or assisted living communities come in all shapes and sizes, how do you know what differentiates a quality AL facility from another? In all, we want our loved ones to have the best genuine and quality care possible. So, below are 5 categories to consider when comparing Assisted Living facilities.
Staffing: Staff ratios are important to know. The more staff to residents the better, but make sure to ask what types of staff the community has. Knowing the ratio of Registered Nurses, LPNs and DONs will show the level of training that the community has compared to a staffing ratio that includes nurse aides, laundry workers and housekeepers.
Also, ask about Nurse Practitioners and Physicians. Many communities have nurse practitioners that are employed by independent doctors, but check to see if the community has any nurse practitioners or physicians that are employed by the company. In addition to nursing staff, employees in nutrition, activities, wellness and social services can make a very positive impact on the quality of life in the community. Highly trained and committed staff are important distinguishers between Assisted Living communities.
Amenities: Quality Assisted living can offer a variety of engagement and recreation opportunities for seniors from the very active senior to residents who require enhanced memory care.
Look for a place that offers:
- Daily activities
- Social events to foster well-being and life enrichment
- Reminder Services
- 24/7 nursing care
- Transportation to doctor’s appointments
- Transportation and planned trips shopping and entertainment
- Courtyard, walking paths or other safe outside spaces
Specialties: Some AL communities excel in specialty areas. Below are some specialties to consider investigating to ensure a high quality of care.
- Continuum of care:
- Consider what the company can provide if a resident’s health progresses to a more difficult circumstance that may require a skilled nursing environment.
- Full Time Nurse Practitioner:
- A nurse practitioner provides a high level of expertise to any issues that may arise for a resident.
- Wellness Coach:
- This person promotes health and wellness to residents and employees through exercise classes and activities, programs, educational materials and events.
- Specialty training for Memory Care Staff:
- Specialty training in this area can improve daily living in residents with memory care needs. Some communities are even specifically designed and constructed to create a safe, comfortable and nurturing environment. For more information on what to look for in memory care, go to APlaceForMom.com
- Stroke recovery expertise
- Respiratory therapy
- Parkinson’s therapy
- Medical Director
- Having a board certified Medical Director on staff demonstrates a commitment to clinical quality and to patient-centered care.
Cost: Many communities have different cost structures based on the different levels of care that the senior needs. Make sure to fully understand the level of care that you loved one needs and what additional services they may need in the future. Some of the factors that may change the level of care are memory issues, incontinence, and levels of immobility. Make sure to understand what types of services are included as well. Below is a list of questions to consider asking to ensure there are no add-on costs:
- Are three meals provided each day
- Is weekly Housekeeping and Laundry provided?
- Is there scheduled transportation to medical appointments?
- Are all utilities included? (including phone and cable/WIFI)
- Is there daily trash pick-up and bed making?
- Is there a 24/7 emergency call system and nursing staff?
Clinical outcomes and satisfaction scores: Clinical outcomes and satisfaction scores are a valuable measure for comparing where you feel comfortable putting yourself, or your mother or father. When you tour a community, or speak with a physician or other care navigator, be sure to ask about the clinical outcomes that your different choices have.
While choosing an assisted living environment can be a difficult decision, the factors above can help in making a decision that you feel good about.
If you have additional questions or would like to learn more about our communities at Kingston HealthCare, click here.