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Evaluating A Micro Community (Residential Care Facility) - A Check List

A residential care facility is an option for some individuals that require assistance or supervision, but do not care to be part of a larger community, such as most assisted living facilities offer. A residential care home usually is a home in a neighbor or community that provides service to as few as two seniors to ten individuals at one time. The limit for the number of individuals in each home is governed by each state.

Author: Albert Simpson
Date: Nov 14, 2009 - 1:38:33 PM


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A residential care facility is an option for some individuals that require assistance or supervision, but do not care to be part of a larger community, such as most assisted living facilities offer. A residential care home usually is a home in a neighbor or community that provides service to as few as two seniors to ten individuals at one time. The limit for the number of individuals in each home is governed by each state.
Micro Communities, Residential Care Facility
Once called boarding homes, residential care facilities provide non medical care services. The services offered may vary from assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, cooking, and money and medication management.All this is provided in a small and intimate home like setting.     
There are presently no federal regulations for residential care facilities, so each facility can vary, as far as the clientele that they will be providing services and care. When looking for a residential care facility try to take into consideration the environment your aging loved one was living in and try to mirror that environment for placement in a residential care facility. Some facilities are small and modest while others a very plush and have more amenities, such as a pool, whirlpool and activities room.
In some facilities, the boarders or residents live with the family that is providing the care. In other facilities, there is staff that comes and goes. There is someone available to oversee and provide safety around the clock. The staff available is not usually a professional nurse, but a home health aide. Some facilities have a professional nurse overseeing several buildings and supervising the aides.     
When looking for a residential care facility, it is important to consider the present and potential future health care needs of the aging senior. If this is an individual that needs some assistance and companionship, but has not medical requirements, then a residential care facility may be the answer.
It is important to consider the social and recreational needs of the aging senior. Some individuals are happy to be in a small environment and are able to entertain themselves. Some individuals require interaction and stimulation and the company of others. This is important when considering a residential care facility. Most do not provide any kind of social or recreational activities.
When considering a residential care facility, it is important to investigate each potential facility thoroughly. Some states require licensing and are regulated by the state. If your state regulates residential care facilities, they must be surveyed on a regular basis. Contact your area agency on aging for a copy of the state survey. The facility should be able to provide you with this information, as well.                 
 
Here is a checklist of things to observe when visiting a potential facility:

    * Ask about the experience level of the staff and owner. Ask for references from previous residents that have lived at the facility.
    * Ask for professional references, such as physicians, discharge planners, religious leaders and community leaders that have recommended or know some one that has lived at the facility.
    * Discussing finances. Ask for a fee schedule. Are there any extra charges that will be added to the monthly fee?
    * If you have long term care insurance, will the facility bill the client or the insurance company?
    * Does the facility accept Medicaid as payment? Is there a specific amount of time that out of pocket expenses are to be paid before Medicaid is available?
    * Are there transportation services available for doctor appointments, going to church, or shopping? Is there a fee for those services?     
    * Do the present individuals living at the home looked cared for and clean?
    * Do they look happy?
    * Is the building clean and well maintained?
    * Do any of the rooms have a bad odor?
    * Are the caregivers interacting positively with the present residents?
    * Are the residents treated with dignity and respect?
    * Is each resident’s privacy protected when receiving care?
    * What is the staff to resident ratio?
    * Is there an RN on staff? Does that individual cover several buildings or just one? How often does the RN see the residents?
    * If there is no RN available to oversee the residents at all times, is there an RN consultant that oversees the care on a regular basis? What are the specific days and times of coverage for the RN?
    * Who supervises the care provided by the aides?
    * Is there regular staff to provide continuity of care?
    * Does the facility make doctor appointments, order medication refills and provide case management services for the residents?
    * What is the process for the family to communicate with the staff regarding questions or concerns?
    * Are there accommodations made for meals, such as are there food options available to allow the resident to choose from?
    * Are pets accepted, if the resident can provide the care for the pet?  
    * Is spending money managed by the staff, when the resident is not able to handle money? What system is in place to keep track of those finances?
    * Is there a security system in place in the facility? What type of monitoring system is in place to keep wandering or confused resident safe?

 

Choosing the right residential care facility takes time and research. Once you have decided on several facilities that meet you or your aging seniors needs, it is time to revisit the facilities unannounced and at different times of the day and evening. This is going to be your loved one’s home, so choosing the right place can give you and your aging senior peace of mind and the ability to age in a home setting.       

 

Albert Simpson has been actively involved in OurParents - Find the Best Nursing Homes, Assisted Living and In-Home Care
 - and is very keen to continue working on it.

 

 




View all articles by Albert Simpson

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