Tips for Touring an Assisted Living Facility
Caregivers, Make the Most of Touring an Assisted Living Facility
Choosing the right assisted living facility for your love ones is not easy. There are many promising facilities to choose. However, your guide to choose the right one will also come from the person who will be staying there. It will depend on his/her needs, wishes, and budget. Your priority checklist must include amenities, services, accommodation, and care provided. ALFA (Assisted Living Federation of America) recommends to make several visits to each community you want to consider. This will help you come up a sound decision and evaluation.
However, reading to get prior knowledge before the tour in search of appropriate facility plays an important role in your evaluation and decision. Information from the internet, brochures, and other reading material will help you. Getting recommendation from friends and family is helpful. After you have gathered enough information, you can tour to several of your target facilities. Make sure that your evaluation checklist is ready, so you will not miss any details that you want to know.
Assisted Living Evaluation Checklist
- Environment and over-all ambiance. The feeling you have as you enter the place will tell a lot about the facility. Your checklist should include the following:
1. Do you like its location and outward appearance?
2. Is the interior design pleasing and homelike?
3 . Is the facility clean and free from unwanted odors?
4. Are the staff and residents warm and friendly?
5. Is there enough staff?
6 .Is the facility safe (slip and fall) and secure (prevent wandering away)?
7. Are there any activities posted in the bulletin board?
8. What is the turnover like with staff? How long has the average caregiver worked at the facility?
9. What is the resident to staff ratio?
- Physical Features. Most seniors living in assisted living have restricted mobility and cognitive declined individuals. So, the facility should be senior's friendly so they can live comfortably. Your checklist should include the following:
1. Is the floor plan easy to follow?
2. Are doorways, hallways, and rooms accommodating to seniors. Is it designed for wheelchairs and walkers?
3. Are there enough handrails and non-skid floor?
4. Are cupboards and shelves easy to reach?
5. Are there enough security and emergency devices like smoke detectors and buzzer?
6. Are the lights sufficient?
7. Are common area like dining and living room spacious?
- Services and Amenities. It is important to know what services that are include in your payment. You should be aware of extra charges and possible increases within the period of time. Your checklist should include the following:
1. Are the staff really available in 24-hour assistance? What is staff like after normal business hours?
2. Do they have housekeeping and laundry?
3. Are the residents allowed to have a pet?
4. Is transportation provided and part of monthly fee?
5. Do they have regular wellness exercise and recreation schedule?
6. Is there any on-site physician and therapist? If not, can they coordinate to them?
7. Do they have meal planning? Are there any snacks? Do they prepare food upon request?
8. Do they have cable (ethnic channels), internet, piano and telephone?
9. What are the medication and healthcare services provided?
- Agreements/Costs/Payment. It is also important to check on agreements and money matters. Prior to your tour, you should know what is your or your love ones budget and stick to that budget so there will be no trouble in the future. Your checklist should include the following:
1. What is your monthly/annual bill?
2. What services are included?
3. What are the extra charges?
4. If they raise their rate, do they notify the right person ahead of time?
5. If the level of care changes, what will be the charges/
6. Do they have different cost in different level of care?
7. What is their billing and payment procedure?
8. Do they accept Medicaid? Or Veterans’ Administration Aide and Attendance Program?
The above checklist is the basic information you need to know. You can add more on the checklist with other important details that you or your love ones need. You may want to check also on how they rate in the state evaluation. Or do they have a background checks on their staff and employees? These are necessary to ensure safety and avoid problems with the residents.
Needs Assessments, Residency Agreements, Assisted Living Costs & Finances
Is a residency agreement available that discloses personal care and supportive services, all fees, as well as move-in and move-out provisions? What are the policies for refunds and transfers?
Is there a written plan of care for each resident? How frequently is it reviewed and updated?
Does the community have a process for assessing a resident’s need for services, and are those needs addressed periodically?
Does this periodic assessment process include the resident, his or her family, and community staff, along with the resident’s physician?
Are there any government, private, or corporate programs available to help cover the cost of services to the resident?
Are additional services available if the resident’s needs change?
Are there different costs for various levels or categories of personal care?
Do billing, payment, and credit policies seem fair and reasonable?
Are residents required to purchase renters’ insurance for personal property in their units?
Is there an appeals process for dissatisfied residents?
Additional Questions on Assisted Living
Does the community conduct criminal background checks on employees?
Does the community train staff on elder abuse and neglect? Is there a policy for reporting suspected abuse?
Does the community have a special wing or floor for residents with cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease? If so, is it secured?
Does the community allow hospice to come in and care for residents?
Does the community accept long-term care insurance?
Does the community allow a loved one, such as a grandchild, to spend the night? Is there a charge?
Does the community participate in the Veterans’ Administration Aide and Attendance Program? Will the community help complete the paperwork?
Does the community accept Medicaid?
What are the most common reasons why a resident may be asked to move out of the community?
As you begin your search for an assisted living community, assess your current needs and be prepared to ask each provider how it might accommodate any changes in your needs over time. Examine your finances and ask about costs. Monthly rates and fee structures vary.
Most of all, if you are seeking a community for someone who cannot visit the community personally, it’s important to respect their needs and wishes by including them in the process as much as possible. The result will be their greater satisfaction.