A recent report has shown that residential care facilities fail to meet the needs of the older adults they are supposed to care for. As our population is getting older, sicker, and have even more impairments than in the past, the nature of people needing care has changed dramatically. To make matters even more concerning, there is no widely accepted standard for addressing this population’s physical or mental health needs.
Staffing Ratios and Shortages
The report addresses 43 expert recommendations ranging from medical and psychiatric care to staffing and patient advocates. For example, one recommendation addresses staffing and proposes the establishment of ratios of aids to residents and that a registered or licensed practical nurse always is on site. This recommendation comes when 82% of residential care facilities report moderate to high staffing shortages.
Another recommendation is training for managing mental illness and dementia, medication side effects, infection control, and end-of-life care. These were all weaknesses in care that were identified during the height of the pandemic. Experts say that the better trained the staff is, the more likely they are to provide high-quality care to residents and the less likely they will get frustrated and feel burned out.
Further recommendations focused more on the residents, such as regularly assessing their needs and evaluating their mental health. In addition, many experts feel that an able resident should help direct their goals and how they want their care provided.
A Look at Assisted Living in the U.S.
There are currently some 28,900 assisted living communities in the U.S., and they are regulated by the states where they are located. There are no federal standards, and practices vary widely. There are also fewer protective regulations for assisted living facility residents than in nursing homes. While some assisted living facilities are small and house less than ten seniors, some complexes are large and house hundreds of older adults.
Assisted living communities were created to be a social model style of living where older adults could interact with other residents while getting help from the staff with things like dressing and bathing. Unfortunately, that model of care needs to be updated. Currently, nursing homes are pushing to create a more homelike environment, while assisted living facilities need to learn how to manage the medical needs of their residents more adequately. How it will all play out has yet to be made clear.
Whether you have a loved one already in a facility, or needing care soon, our experienced team can help. We specialize in educating and helping you protect what you have for the people you love the most. Contact us to learn more.
Author: Marlon O. Brammer
Marlon is the Founder and Managing Partner of Brammer, PLLC, where he helps small business owners, real estate investors, and families in Florida, protect their assets and grow generational wealth.