The Components of Good Assisted Living Care

It’s not uncommon to hear horror stories in the news about the mistreatment and abuse of assisted living residents.  This issue definitely hits home, not just for our own families but for ourselves as a society. Our seniors deserve the absolute best care possible, and if you’re making decision of whether to transition your parents into a new living situation, you need to know what to avoid.  Loving, professional care is available of you knew where to look—and what to look for.

Here’s what to look for in a good assisted living facility:

  • Appearance of the facility: A facility should look and smell clean.  The residents who need help should be assisted promptly and all staff members should be located in places accessible to the residents.
     
  • Proper nutrition: All residents must have their unique nutrition and hydration needs met. Assisted living facilities must serve their residents at least three well-balanced meals per day, as well as additional snacks.  The food must be prepared and served in a sanitary fashion and at the proper temperature.  Residents should be informed of the food being served. Accommodations should be made for residents who are on special diets, such as a no-salt diet.  To monitor proper nutrition, the resident’s weight should be recorded weekly.
     
  • Proper hydration: It is extremely important that assisted living residents are receiving the proper fluids and are sufficiently hydrated.  All residents should have an abundant supply of water and other beverages.  
     
  • Assistance with toileting and bathing:  Many residents in nursing homes require additional assistance with bathing and using the toilet.  These residents should be bathed regularly and should always have access to a staff member who can provide bathroom assistance.
     
  • Accommodations: Each resident is unique and has different needs that need to be accommodated. For example, if a resident has had a stroke and their left arm is paralyzed, then he will need to be accommodated so that everything is within reach. Other residents with mobility issues will need to be transported to and from meals, and the facility should have a working elevator if necessary to avoid stairs.
     
  • Staffing:  Understaffing can be a huge problem in assisted living facilities.  Without proper staffing, the residents’ needs cannot all be met adequately and there is an increased chance for abuse.  A facility with plenty of trained staff and nurses available is able to provide the best care.
     
  • It’s all about the resident:  An easy way to tell if a resident is receiving proper care is to simply look at them.  Look for signs of good health such as clean skin, a healthy weight, and a smile on their face.  If they have complaints, or you don’t think that they are being taken good care of, then speak up for them. 

The best thing you can do for a loved one in assisted living is to be an advocate for them. When all is said and done, it’s the time, effort, and love that you give back that will last the longest and mean the most to your parent. Making sure they are receiving the proper care is worth the effort, and now you have the tools to make an informed decision when it comes to spotting strong quality of care.

Ben Glass
Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney