Things you should know about Assisted Living

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Ruby Care Senior Living Advisors

For more information about the author, click to view their website: Ruby Care Senior Living Advisors

Posted on

Jan 29, 2023

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Texas - Dallas, Collin, SE Denton & Rockwall Counties

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Assisted Living is a term has sent mixed feelings for many seniors and family members. It represents a big change for many in their independence, health, environment, and lifestyle.  Assisted Living has changed quite a bit from what people used to envision in their minds of a nursing home, with seriously ill or severely debilitated individuals with limited activity and quality of life. These days the options available in Assisted Living are vast, and many are resort style full of vibrant residents engaging in a calendar full of daily activities, chef prepared meals, groups, and outings, still living their best life with a little help.

Taking a look at what makes up a quality Assisted Living Community, I found some good insights from an article by Dr. Steven Fuller, DO, PhD Seven Challenges Assisted Living Must Get Right - Caring for the Ages that would like to share parts of along with some professional experience working as a Senior Living Advisor for Ruby Care.

Integrated Care

Quality of health care must be at the center of any assisted living community, as declining health is the main reason for residents to move to assisted living. On the flip side, it is also the top reason for residents to leave assisted living.

Transitions

Challenge for many people is failure “to recognize that health care is managed in acute care settings (like hospitals) differently than in chronic care settings (like assisted living). The goal of hospitals is short term, standardized treatment of a resident’s illness or episode of care. In the hospital setting, the forming of nurturing and healing relationships often falls victim to fast-paced efficiency to reduce the length of stay and cost of care.

In assisted living, however, the opposite prevails. The emphasis has evolved from treatment of an illness to recovery from the illness.” Residents are now moving to a new home environment where relationships and person-centered care are paramount as well as continued recovery and care. 

Acuity

Identify limitations of individual communities on resident acuity that can be competently managed (Type A vs Type B). The consequences of accepting a resident whose health care acuity exceeds the ability of workers capacity to manage it endangers the existing residents by diverting staff and other resources toward the highest acuity residents, leaving the lower acuity residents with unmet health care needs.  Many assisted living communities have levels of care and hire staff based on the acuity level of the resident population. These levels of care come with increased cost.

Chronic Disease Management

Assisted living residents have multiple chronic diseases and take a multitude of medications to treat them. It is a significant challenge managing the delicate balance of medications to obtain optimum outcomes. How the assisted living schedules necessary tests and appointments for residents, arranging transportation, distributing/renewing prescriptions, communicating with families, and so on are all key things to know and ask.

Managing chronic illness is a challenge. Many communities have helped provide better management by having concierge physicians that can make “house calls” and tele-med visits at the community.  This is even more prevalent since the past 2 years with COVID, to ensure that residents can receive quality medical care with minimal risk of exposure or transmission. This also allows the senior to remain in a comfortable/familiar environment reducing overall stress and anxiety.

Quality Measures

Assisted living communities must be able, upon request, to objectively validate the quality of the health care they are providing to their residents. Health care data should be collected, tracked, analyzed, and communicated to employees and families. Examples of important quality measures include emergency department transfers, hospitalizations, readmissions, falls, pressure ulcers, behavioral disturbances, pain control, ambulance calls and transfers, and resident and employee satisfaction surveys. Note that not all assisted living options are licensed and state regulated. All potential communities should still be checked to ensure that they are following best practices and federal guidelines regarding all quality measures. State regulated communities can be checked for any violations on the HHS Texas,gov site.

Falls

How does the community work to help prevent falls?  Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a broken hip or head injury. Additionally, falls are a leading contributor to liability costs, which are then passed down in the rent paid by all residents. For more information on falls and how to prevent them refer to our previous blog: https://rubycaresenior.com/blog/f/how-to-prevent-falling

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when thinking about Assisted Living and living out your or your loved one’s best life possible.  When the time comes for you to look for Assisted Living or other Senior Living options, there are many senior communities available capable of providing quality and the continuity of care needed. Finding the right one can be a daunting task, with over 900+ in the DFW area. At an often already stressful time, enlisting the expertise of a Senior Living Advisor from Ruby Care can ease the stress.  We can be your guide to helping navigate the sea of available options based on what would be the best fit given the individual’s care needs, financial constraints, likes/dislikes, location, family support available, etc. We even set up and tour with our clients, all at no cost to you! Our team is passionate about seniors in our community, and love what we do!

Britt Hemsell – Ruby Care Senior Living Advisor & Blog Contributor

Resources: 

https://www.caringfortheages.com/article/S1526-4114(19)30325-7/fulltext

https://apps.hhs.texas.gov/ltcsearch/providersearch.cfm

Alzheimer’s Association  www.alz.org

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Ruby Care Senior Living Advisors

Housing Placement & Resource Specialists 5960 West Parker Rd Ste 278-215, Plano, Texas, 75093

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