Elderly Abuse Attorney Offers Advice on Selecting Assisted Living Facilities in Chicago
Long-term care, such as an assisted living facility, provides an aging loved one with a safe place to live and access to a community-like environment. It can be soothing, healthy, and even prevent injuries.
While seven out of ten Americans over the age of 65 will need long-term care, more than half are afraid of long-term care facilities, including assisted living. Some are worried that they will be a burden on loved ones, and they are more concerned about that burden than dying.
Others loathe the idea of an assisted living facility, thinking that if they were to go to one, that is where they go to be ignored by family and friends.
Great assisted living facilities are out there. However, when choosing one for yourself or family members, you need to be on the lookout for a quality facility versus a dangerous installation. After all, you are going there for long-term care. So, you want to ensure that they meet your needs today, but also in the future.
During your hunt, you will tour facilities. However, you should also perform investigations outside of the facility itself. This might include talking to families that have used them, investigating health care scores, and so forth.
The more investigating you do, the better you will feel about the assisted living facility you have selected – and the less likely you will have issues with that facility in the future.
Statistics on Assisted and Long-Term Care Needs
Around one million Americans currently live in senior living communities and the numbers are expected to double by 2030.
Innovations in healthcare have allowed seniors to live longer, and retain most of their active, healthy lifestyles. By the year 2040, the 85 and older population is expected to increase from the 14.1 million in 2011.
Assisted living communities promote independents and give you or your loved one a place to remain active. Some couples choose assisted living facilities so that they can stay with one another, but also stay social and not worry about in-home care burdening family members or their budget.
15 Reasons to Investigate an Assisted Living Facility Before Committing to One
While assisted living facilities have significant influences on senior lifestyles, not all assisted living facilities are as great as they seem. Some ignore their patients’ needs and put their bottom line ahead of the care they provide. Others are abusive, fraudulent, and negligent.
Therefore, you must ensure the facility you choose has your best interests in the front of their operations.
One: You Need to Observe the Cleanliness
A good way to tell that the facility you have selected is sanitary is visiting it. You can look at the common areas and rooms to see how often they are cleaned. Also, smell the air. You should not be able to identify any odors. Any off-putting smells trigger concern and could indicate a bigger problem.
Ask the manager about their cleaning policies and whether they use a company to clean the rooms regularly.
Two: Explore Activity Options
Assisted living facilities provide social opportunities for their residents, but every facility has their various methods for activities. Therefore, it is best to visit during business hours and see the types of activities they offer residents.
Are the activities and events something your loved one or yourself would participate in?
Three: Assess the Staff In-Person
You should always investigate how the staff interacts with current residents as well as prospective residents. You want to look at their attitudes, friendliness, and how assistive they are.
Consider how they listen and make eye contact. Look at the staffing patterns around you. Then, consider how many staff members there are on the site compared to the number of residents at any given time. When the staff is significantly outnumbered, ask yourself how much attention they give each patient.
Four: Look at the Grounds
While you should always investigate the inside of an assisted living facility, you should also examine the exterior. The outdoor areas of the facility ensure that you or your loved one can enjoy the sun on a warm day, have a social area outdoors, and how secure the exterior is. For assisted living facilities with memory care, the facility should be fenced and secure so that residents can go outside, but not wander out.
Five: A Chance to Investigate Nutrition and Food Preparation
It is imperative that you investigate the food plans offered by the facility.
More importantly, you want to know what type of food programs they offer, the chefs or cooks on-site who prepare the food, and if the meals are created in coordination with a dietician. If you have a special dietary concern, can they prepare foods to meet your needs? Also, what is the quality of the food prepared?
You want a facility that not only uses proper food preparation and safety, but includes fresh fruits, vegetables, and a balanced assortment for every meal serviced.
Six: Opportunity to Assess the Safety and Security of the Facility
A good assisted living facility is one that takes security and safety seriously. Not only should they have fenced grounds, but inside there should be no safety concerns, including:
- Cleared hallways and rooms that are free of clutter.
- No unsafe furnishings or items in the rooms or common areas.
- Grab bars installed in showers and bathrooms for those who need extra help getting up and down.
- Emergency call buttons for when residents need assistance.
Seven: Experience the Ambiance
You should experience the overall feel you get when you enter an assisted living facility. You want to feel comfortable, and have a positive gut feeling about the installation you might select. If you do not walk away feeling confident in the staff members or comfortable with the environment, your senses could be telling you something.
Eight: Meeting the Staff and Coordinators
Walking into a facility without knowing the staff means you do not know if you will get along or like the people helping you. You should get to know the on-site nursing staff, caretakers, administrators, office personnel, and all coordinators.
Nine: Learn the Layout
Some assisted living facilities to have an easy design to make it simpler to get from one point to the other. Other facilities are not as user-friendly, and you might find yourself having difficulty getting around. In that case, you may consider looking at a different facility so that you can navigate and not worry about getting lost.
Also, consider the safety of the layout. How is the lighting during various times of the day? Are the hallways too small for a wheelchair or too big? You want a well-planned large community environment with common rooms and open access. However, it should still feel comfortable.
Ten: Meeting Residents
Personalities do not always mix well, so you may want to explore the types of residents you could be living with. After all, assisted living facilities thrive on social interactions and creating a community-like environment. If you do not like the residents you meet, you may find your time in that facility less than appealing.
Eleven: Review Better Business Bureau Complaints and Resolutions
Always investigate the assisted living facility through the Better Business Bureau. You can review their accreditation history, scores, and the past complaints and resolutions on file with the BBB. This helps you identify any potential billing issues, customer service problems, or even health department complaints.
Twelve: Insurance Recommendations and Billing
Investigate a facility to see if your insurance covers your assisted living stay or other services in the facility. If you have long-term care insurance, you must go with a facility that your insurer works with, but also one you like. Ask your insurer for a full list of recommendations in your area and tour all if you can.
Thirteen: Discrimination Issues
Review any potential discrimination issues in the facility you are considering. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities do not have to accept all patients, but they cannot discriminate. See if there are state or city complaints against the facility for discrimination.
Fourteen: Abuse and Neglect Complaints
Most importantly, you must investigate a facility to see if there is a history of ill-treatment or neglect. Even if the abuser was arrested or fired, are there multiple complaints spanning over a few years at that facility? If so, it could mean that there is a management issue and the chances of being a victim are increased if that same management team is running the facility.
Fifteen: Health Department Complaints
Always research health department citations and fines. If the facility’s kitchen was recently cited for health code violations, what have they done to correct them? Have they passed further investigations?
Furthermore, what was the violation and how often have they received related citations for health code concerns?
Hold Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities Accountable for their Actions
If you or a loved one is abused or neglected in a long-term care facility, you have rights. Not only can you hold them accountable for their actions, but you can help prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Speak with the advocates from Malman Law to explore your options for a nursing home abuse case. Call us to schedule your free consultation now at 888-307-2051 or request a free consultation appointment online.