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How to Use Care Categories to Choose an Assisted Living Facility Part 2: Medical

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.

  1. Mandatories
  2. 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.

Incontinence: Essential

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…”)?

Oxygen: Special

Not every facility will accept oxygen. If your loved one is prescribed oxygen, make sure that the facility can accommodate that.

Injections: Special

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?

Hospice: Special

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.