A Professional Care Managers View
CareGrade.com did an interview with professional care manager Liz Salston, LSW 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?
LS - The first thing I look for is to see if it is truly a homey environment. This is not an institution these people are moving into, it is a new home. While being homey is important, the facility must also be well run and have a kind staff. I look for a place that all employees, from housekeeping all the way up to the director, will drop whatever they are doing to help a resident with whatever their needs are
Other things I look for include
An environment that is protective for people who are memory impaired. I like to see that the higher functioning people are able to come out and socialize with the rest of the resident, as long as there is staff supervision.
The facility has nursing supervision 24 hours per day
Transportation to doctors and outside recreation is provided.
There is an affordable tier system of care level.
Lastly, I like a facility that either has a separate skilled section of its own or a relationship with a skilled facility. I want to know that if a person requires the skilled care for a short term stay, that they will be transitioned back to their home in the assisted living facility once they are better.
CG - What problems do you most often encounter?
LS - I really don’t see many problems with the facilities I use.
CG - What questions should a family ask when speaking with an agency and trying to make a choice?
LS - Will staff engage their parents?
Will they push the residents to go to activities or encourage them to participate?
Do the residents each get lifeline pendants in case of emergency?
How does staff help settle a person into their new surrounding?
Is their any type of support group separate from resident council?
CG - How long does it usually take for a person to move into a facility?
LS - If there is no waiting list, a person should be able to move in within a week. It definitely saves time and speeds everything up when a family works with a good care manager. We have already done all the homework and know what facilities would be best for each individual.
CG - What are the most difficult people to find assisted living for?
LS - Individuals with behavior problems and psychiatric conditions or people who are agitated tend to be the most difficult to find the appropriate accommodations. Another group are those that have problems making the adjustment to a new place to live.
Liz Salston is a social worker with 22 years of experience in the field of services for older adults. She has served as Director of Recreation and Social Services at the Martin and Edith Stein Assisted Living Residence and as a social worker at the Central New Jersey Jewish Home for the Aged in Somerset. She has run several socialization and respite groups at the Jewish Family Service of Southern Middlesex County and has worked as a social worker in HUD senior housing.
Liz holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Sociology and Judaic Studies, a Master of Social Work, as well as a Master of Arts in Contemporary Jewish History.
She is a licensed social worker in the state of New Jersey, a member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, Inc., and the National Association of Social Workers.
You may reach Liz at www.salstoneldercare.com (732) 238-1775