We continue with our in-depth look at using care assessment categories
to find the best fit in Assisted Living.
Again, this topic is so important because the choices of facilities and
varying levels of care are so vast. Though all facilities are licensed
the same (RCFE, in California) by The Department of Social Services, the
degree of care each provides can only be assessed by someone who knows
what they’re looking for. This is article will help equip you in
the decision making process.
Today we’ll look at the Second M, “Medical” to help us
see the differences in the facilities out there.
- Medical: This is not an exhaustive list, but it covers most things that
will affect the level of care you will want to look for. The range here
can go from reading glasses all the way to hospice care.
Vitals Reporting: Essential
All quality care facilities should be keeping track of a residence vitals
to report any changes to the Primary Care Physician.
Medical Visits: Special
Not every facility has arranged for optional licensed medical visits. It’s
often times a huge convenience for the family and frequently a sign of
the facilities prioritization of medical care.
All quality care facilities will provide
incontinence care. Ask if the facility supplies the products (many don’t). Also, if
the staff are trained to maximize comfort (example: using warm towels)
and dignity (saying “let’s go freshen up” instead of
“let’s go change…”)?
Not every facility will accept oxygen. If your loved one is prescribed
oxygen, make sure that the facility can accommodate that.
Most facilities do not do injections. If injections are required, this
one criteria will narrow down your facility options quickly.
Skin Care: Essential
All care facilities pay a close eye to their resident’s often fragile
skin. Ask the facility what their wound prevention strategy is for someone
who is wheelchair bound to gauge their level of awareness.
Vision/Hearing Aids: Essential
All quality care facilities will care for resident’s vision and hearing
aids properly. If you can, try to notice how clean the glasses are of
other residents. Ask the staff how frequently they check if they need cleaning.
Special Diet: Essential
All quality care facilities are able to accommodate special diets. Ask
the staff what they do to add variety to a soft diet.
Med Management: Essential
All care facilities have a medication management system in place. Ask how
many of the staff on shift are trained in med management? What systems
are built in to minimize errors?
Most facilities can get a temporary
hospice exemption. Ask if the facility has a standing hospice waiver. This often
shows that it’s a part of a facilities core competency. Ask, what
kind of training the staff get to care for residents in that very tender
and special part of life.
This is not an exhaustive list, but I hope that it helps you feel more
confident when you walk through the doors of your next walk-through. These
are essential medical consideration to consider when choosing your loved
ones next home. Look out for the next article, which will discuss often
the biggest single aspect of choosing Assisted Living, memory care.