Factors to consider when evaluating an assisted living facility

Whether planning for the future, considering additional care for a parent, or helping a loved one in need, the process of selecting an assisted living facility can be overwhelming, with many important factors to evaluate. Chris Hurley, Business Development and Sales Supervisor at McLaren Homecare Group, gives insight on effectively assessing an assisted living facility.

One helpful tip Hurley gives families evaluating assisted living facilities is to use the free resources already available to them. Assisted living facilities are licensed by the state, and information about them can be found online. There one can search facilities by county and compare all assisted living facilities. One can also view licensures, the capacity of the facility, services provided, and special certifications.

Hurley encourages families to be critical of the facilities they are evaluating and make well-informed decisions. An example of this is that a facility may be attractive, but may not have varied nutritional options and engaging activities for its residents. Hurley recommends asking probing questions about the amenities and services that are offered at the facility. Hurley also advises people evaluating assisted living facilities to distinguish between the different packages provided by assisted living facilities.

"A key distinction to make when deciding on a facility is to determine the differences between an all-inclusive and an a la carte package. An all-inclusive package will include everything that goes along with daily care. An a la carte package may include unexpected fees that can accrue quickly. For example, a diabetic patient will want to make sure he or she is opted into a diabetic plan to avoid being charged additionally for insulin injections and blood sugar checks." Once one has narrowed the search down to a few facilities, Hurley recommends spending some time there before making a commitment. "If your parent doesn't like it, you will be looking for a new facility in a month or two."

Hurley also recommends making an unannounced visit to the facility. "Act as a fly on the wall and ask yourself: how are the patients treated? Are they clean? What is the staff to patient ratio? What kind of activities are there? Is it bingo or do they actually have engaging outings with the patients?" Although evaluating assisted living facilities may be difficult, there are plenty of resources available to help make the decision easier.