What Are Staffing Standards in an Assisted Living Community?

Individual states have statutes and regulations that establish staffing standards for an assisted living community. In this article, we provide you with a general overview of commonplace staffing standards that must be satisfied in an assisted living community.

Assisted Living Administrator

The administrator of an assisted living community is responsible for the facility’s overall management. In this role, the administrator is directly responsible for such things as:

  • Overall assisted living community operations
  • Facility upkeep 
  • Staff organization and management
  • Provision of suitable care to all assisted living residents
  • Compliance with all applicable laws and regulations

Each state mandates that the administrator of an assisted living community have a minimum level of education. The bare minimum level of education is a high school diploma or GED. Typically, an assisted living facility administrator must be at least 21 years of age.

In order to serve as an assisted living facility administrator, a person must pass a background check with requirements set forth by state statute and regulation. This includes a criminal background check. 

Typically, state law requires a specific certification for a person to serve as an assisted living administrator (including California). Obtaining certification necessitates passing an examination. 

Assisted Living Resident Care Staff Members

Staff members in an assisted living community must also have comprehensive background checks. This includes a criminal background check. All staff members need to be screened for communicable diseases. If a staff member is providing a type of service within an assisted living community that necessitates some type of certification or licensing, that individual must be properly credentialed. If a staff member is ever thought to have a communicable disease, that individual needs to be removed from responsibilities until a report is received with test results confirming the individual has no such condition.

Other Assisted Living Staff Members

There are other positions in an assisted living community that may not involve direct care and assistance for residences. For example, there can be kitchen workers and maintenance personnel who do work for a community but who do not interact directly with staff. Despite the lack of direct staff interaction, individuals in these types of positions do need to undergo a background check, including a criminal background check, prior to officially being hired.

It is also important to note that all staff members of an assisted living facility have a responsibility to observe residents. They have a responsibility to document any concerns they might have regarding a resident. Finally, they must convey those concerns to the appropriate staff member. In a smaller community, the person to whom a report is to be made is likely the administrator. Larger communities might have some other designated person to whom such reports are provided. Keep in mind that the assisted living facility may need to report this information to a resident’s healthcare provider. 

Assisted living communities may have contract workers providing services. These individuals also have a requirement to observe residents and to make reports of anything unusual occurring. 

Staff Member With Access to Resident Records

When it comes to staffing standards associated with assisted living, at least one staff member needs to have immediate access to a resident’s records. This includes medical records,

An emergency health situation may arise regarding a resident in an assisted living community. The issues of a resident in a health emergency often are best served when medical personnel has ready access to the type of information contained in a resident’s file or records. Because a medical emergency can arise at any time of the day or night, the ideal course to take is to ensure there is always a staff member in the building who can immediately access a resident’s medical file.

Residents Paid to Assist in Community

Some assisted living communities engage the services of residents as paid helpers. For example, a resident in a larger community might be hired to manage the mailroom. While there are several ways in which a resident can be paid to provide help in an assisted living, there is one thing that a resident cannot do. A resident being paid by an assisted living community cannot be left alone “in charge” of the facility if the administrator and staff are out of the building. There must always be a staff member on-site at an assisted living community. 

If you or your aging parent are considering a move to assisted living, you definitely want to obtain detailed information about staffing. You want to know who works at a particular facility, how the staff is trained, and how team members are monitored.