A Professional Care Managers View
In our ongoing series of interviews, CareGrade.com spoke with professional care manager Michele Tyson C.M.C. to find out what a professional care manager looks for in assisted living facilities.
CG - What do you, as a care manager; look for in an assisted living facility?
MT – Quality of care is my major concern. I want to know if there is a nurse available, is the placed staffed by home health aides, what are the staffing ratios.
I also look to see what levels of service are available. Do they offer special services such as secured dementia unit or dementia programs? Do they offer a higher level of care or is this a facility for higher functioning people only.
Lastly, I look to see where the facility is located. Is it close to major hospitals, doctors and shopping? Is it on a busy road or a quieter location?
CG - What problems do you most often encounter?
MT – The most common problems I see are when people are not happy with the food, or when there are care issues.
CG - What questions should a family ask when speaking with an agency and trying to make a choice?
MT - Is there a registered nurse available 24 hours per day?
How are medications handled?
What services are included in monthly fee and what additional costs do they need to be aware of?
What activities and programs are available?
Is transportation available, especially for doctors’ appointments?
Are special diets accommodated for?
CG - How long does it usually take for a person to move into a facility?
MT - If a bed is available, they should be able to get in within 24-72 hours as long as the physicals are completed and the other issues such as preparing to move are all taken care of. While a family can definitely make all the arrangement for moving into a facility by themselves, a geriatric care manager could make it easier and speed things up.
CG - What are the most difficult people to find assisted living for?
MT - Finding a facility with a secured dementia unit can be tough. There is often a waiting list for these. The other big challenge I see is finding a bed for a person with limited resources.
CG – Is there any other advice you would give a family looking for assisted living?
MT - Look early; don’t wait until there is a crisis situation where placement is absolutely necessary.
Schedule appointments to visit with several communities.
Ask if you can stay for lunch or dinner. Most communities will accommodate that without a problem