Questions to Ask an Assisted Living Administrator During a Tour
One of the most important steps in looking for an ideal assisted living community for your aging parent is the tour. Indeed, you should plan to tour more than one assisted living location when your parent is going to be transitioning into that type of community. As part of an assisted living community tour, there are some questions that you should consider asking of an administrator of the location. We discuss some of the more important questions to put forward to an administrator of an assisted living community.
How many residents live here at this time?
An important initial question to ask of an administrator of an assisted living community centers on how many people are in residence. Assisted living communities do come in a range of different sizes. There are facilities that house hundreds of residents. At the other end of the spectrum, there are assisted living residences that have a dozen or fewer residents.
Of course, you will know if you are touring a larger or smaller facility. Nonetheless, it is helpful to obtain a more specific headcount for an administrator of a community as you and your parent undertake a tour.
What is the actual capacity of a community?
On a related note, you will also want to obtain information about the actual capacity of a particular assisted living community you and your mother or father are touring. While a particular facility might seem to have a moderate number of residents in place at this time, you want to have a clearer picture of what things would look like if the center becomes filled to capacity.
What is the average length of stay at the community?
Another question commonly put to the administrator of an assisted living community when a prospective resident is making a tour is the average length of residency. There can be some benefit to having some understanding of how long a typical person resides in an assisted living community before moving on to another type of long-term care facility or passing on.
Where do residents typically go when they move from the community?
A matter related to how long people reside in a particular assisted living community is where do people tend to go when they leave. Examples of where people tend to go when leaving an assisted living community include:
- Memory care center
- Nursing home
- Residence of a family member with associated in-home care
As was mentioned previously, there are people who do reach the end of their lives in an assisted living community as well.
What is the staff to resident ratio at the assisted living community?
Another important query to make to an administrator of an assisted living community when on a facility tour is one about the staff to resident ratio. In regard to obtaining a broad overview of the staff to resident ratio overall, you will also want to ascertain how many staff members are on duty at different junctures during the course of any given day or night.
How is staff recruited and screened?
In regard to staff issues, you will also want to know how staff of an assisted living community is recruited and screened. Recruitment and screening are key considerations when it comes to who will be assisting your parent and providing care within an assisted living community.
The recruitment and screening process should include a comprehensive background check. This should include an examination of criminal history and a credit check. In this regard, you will want to learn what are the minimum requirements of being hired by a particular assisted living community.
How is staff retained?
When talking to an administrator, you and your parent are also well-served by finding out how a particular assisted living community retains its staff. As will be discussed in a moment, a high rate of turnover at an assisted living facility might be a red flag.
What is the staff turnover rate?
Obtaining information about staff turnover rate is important. An assisted living community with a staff that has been working at the facility for an extended period of time can fairly be considered one at which your parent might be in the most capable hands. A facility with a longer tenured staff typically has more content employees. In addition, a facility to a longer serving care team will become appropriately better acquainted with the needs and preferences of residents at a particular assisted living community.
What services are provided by outside contractors?
Some assisted living communities do need to rely on outside contractors for some services. Indeed, the involvement of outside contractors is relatively commonplace.
When in a tour of an assisted living community, you will want to ask the administrator questions about hiring independent or outside contractors. As is the case with employees of a community, you will want to know how outside contractors specifically are recruited and screeded before being hired.
Are there areas in which the community can be improved?
A fair question is what areas, if any, need to be improved. In asking such a question, you need to bear in mind that no assisted living community is pristine or perfect. Understanding where there might be deficiencies (including temporary ones) is information you will need when you and your parents are considering an assisted living community to call home.
What steps, if any, are being taken towards making those improvements?
If the administrator of an assisted living community makes mention of where improvements may need to be made, it is fair to ask what is being done to make those enhancements. You and your parent will want to know the specific time frame of when certain improvements will be undertaken and completed. If a particular facility has no specific plans regarding certain improvements, that might play into a decision of whether or not your parent should move to that location.
Asking the questions outlined in this article really is a key element of an overall effort at due diligence when your parent is weighing and balancing the pros and cons of moving into a particular assisted living community. Never feel guilty about raising these questions with an assisted living community administrator. In the end, you and your parent are only able to make an informed and intelligent decision about a particular assisted living community when armed with all essential information.