Questions to Ask Assisted Living Facility

Guide To Choosing An Assisted Living Facility – Part 1

It can feel like a daunting task to find the right Assisted Living Facility in Atlanta. Some of the beginning questions that one might be asking are: How do I start?  What resource is reliable and what exactly should I be looking for?

It is important to know that some of the resources that promote Assisted Living communities have relationships with these communities.  A relationship is helpful if it promotes a deeper understanding of what that community can offer and help match people with the best environment, but be aware that some of these relationships are based on advertising fees.

This two part article (click here for part 2) will address some questions to explore when looking at Assisted Living Communities.

Care Plans

When someone lives in an assisted living community, there will be a care plan created for each person based on their needs, abilities, personal preferences, health history etc… These care plans should be readily accessible to the families and be part of the regular scheduled care plan meeting. Some things to consider are:

  • Is the family encouraged to participate in care planning?
  • Are there regularly scheduled care plan meeting and is the family informed of this schedule?
  • Is family informed of changes in the resident condition?
  • Are families encouraged to communicate with staff?

Support & Programs For Family

Some assisted living communities in Atlanta recognize that the resident may not be the only person that needs support and therefore will provide services for the family as well.  This may include support groups, educational opportunities, inviting families to participate in special events and offering ways in which the family can stay engaged and connected to their loved one as their dementia or health changes. Some things to consider are:

  • Is there support for the family?
  • Is there a regularly scheduled support group?
  • Are their educational opportunities?
  • Is the family invited and encouraged to participate in event in the community and the community at large such as participating in the Alzheimers Walk?

State Regulations

Assisted Living Communities are regulated by the state and have specific standards, policies and procedures.  While the state regulations are the minimum standard, communities can create their own polices that go above and beyond these standards.  Some communities have different licensing which regulates what kind of care can be provided. Orchard at Brookhaven exceeds the Georgia standards of care. The Orchard has LPNs where the state only requires CMA or med techs to administer medications, and also has a Registered Nurse for oversight of all care. Some questions to consider when choosing an assisted living facility are:

  • What type of medical care is provided?
  • Can the resident age-in-place?
  • Is there 24 hour on site nursing?
  • What is ratio of staff to resident and is this the state requirement or does it go beyond the state requirement?
  • Is personal care done with respect and dignity?
  • Are the residents supported in their abilities?

Education For Staff

The state of Georgia requires 8 hours of training in dementia care, Orchard has on going in-services and required training for their staff by a dementia specialist. Additionally, the Administrator of Orchard is a dementia trainer, coach, consultant and engagement specialist who has traveled the country training professionals and family caregivers. Here are some questions to consider in regards to training/education:

  • Does the community provide on-going training?
  • What is the continuing education policy and procedure?
  • Is staff trained in dementia care?
  • What can I expect to see from the staff when visiting my loved one?

Staff Engagement

How engaged is the staff?  Some communities promote all staff to be engaged with the residents on a routine basis and this can be easily observed by how the residents how familiar the staff is with the residents and vice versa. If the residents expect to be greeted and have the staff spend time with them, it will be easy to see that they have positive relationships with one another. Here are some things to consider:

  • Is personal support provided in Activities of Daily Living including more than personal care?
  • What is the staff retention?
  • Are residents comfortable, relaxed and involved in activities?
  • Is there a planned flow of the day and does it take into consideration individual likes and abilities?
  • Are residents routinely greeted and engaged by staff?

Finding the right living arrangement for your loved one is easier if you know the right questions to ask.  To start the process, have a conversation with your loved one about the things that are important to them.  Make a list of the things that are most important to you and your loved one and compare it to the lists in this article and the next.  If you have any questions about the process, the staff of Orchard at Brookhaven are happy to help!