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What is an RCFE? Residential Assisted Living

Most people know of large Assisted Living facilities. They are often big and prominent on streets you drive on, to and from work. Some, who have needed heavier care for their loved one, have been introduced to “Board and Care homes.” A residential home that is licensed as an RCFE and has live-in staff, or staff that works 24 hour shifts. The best way to describe a Residential Assisted Living facility is to peg them right in between Assisted Living and Board and Care.

A Residential Assisted Living has all the professionalism and great service of a large corporate Assisted Living (or Memory Care) and the home feel of a residential setting. The greatest asset of Residential Assisted Living is the amount of care someone can receive due to the high staff ratio.

Residential Assisted Living is the best option for people who have increased needs. Whether it be physical limitations, mental confusion or someone who has an emotional need for more assistance, Residential Assisted Living is the best care model to meet those higher needs. Because of the high care-staff ratio, families can be assured that their loved one will receive assistance the minute they need it.

It’s difficult to cater to an individual’s preferences in a large group setting. But the activities coordinator of a Residential Assisted Living can plan for individualized engagement. Each persons preferences can be focused on, in addition to planned group activities. Another big consideration in choosing a small home setting is the lifestyle preferences of the elderly person before they needed assistance. Not every person is a social butterfly and enjoys meeting lots of new people every day. The Residential Assisted Living model allows for a quieter and private lifestyle, which is the preference of many elderly.

Board and Care homes, to an extent, can also be a solution for those who need the close attention and more one on one care. Residential Assisted Living is a solution for families with loved ones who need more assistance than can be offered at a Board and Care. Elderly people often times need to use the restroom several times at night. Unassisted, a trip to the restroom creates a huge fall risk, and is one of the greatest risks to elderly people’s health and safety. Everyone has heard of a horror story of someone’s grandmother laying for hours on a cold floor calling for help. In Residential Assisted Living, full service night staff assures residents that they can get help the minute they need it.

Another added benefit to not having live-in staff or 24 hr shifts is that caregivers are always fresh and rested every eight hours. The work of a caregiver is extremely difficult and constantly demands one-sided giving. A caregiver that has been home with family and is rejuvenated with new energy is the caregiver that is able to provide the best care. It’s easy to imagine burnout and caregivers who have little energy for anything except to park residents in front of a television screen. Constantly working double shifts and being on-call for emergencies at night is a recipe for burnout for even the best of caregivers.

That’s a lot of comparing and contrasting. It’s difficult to define Residential Assisted Living except by comparison to the current existing models. There are not many homes that meet this high level of care. The Sacramento area alone has less than a dozen facilities that fit this model. We suspect that as our aging population finds more ways to stay home longer, the needs of those going into long-term care homes will be ever greater. Residential Assisted Living is the model that is most able to meet the growing need for higher acuity care of our aging seniors.

Are these terms new to you? Have you experienced the care difference in one of the several RCFE levels?