What to Know About Assisted Living Facilities
When considering an assisted living facility for your loved one, a nursing home lawyer Lanham MD provides may tell you that choosing the right home for an elderly family member is critically important. Sadly, too many seniors have experienced abuse or neglect while in the care of health care professionals. All too often, seniors are the victim of lasting and serious personal injuries. The attorneys of Cohen and Cohen, P.C. have fought for the rights of thousands of victims and won millions of dollars as a result.
When an elderly family member suffers a serious injury resulting from neglect or intentional abuse, a nursing home lawyer Lanham MD offers may be able to seek compensatory damages on their behalf. We encourage you to call our office at 301-965-0726 for a free consultation if your loved one has been injured through no fault of their own. If you’re considering moving your relative to an assisted living facility, you may have concerns of abuse or neglect. Though there is no guarantee that your loved one will be fully protected, the following tips may help you in making your choice.
What is an assisted living facility?
Seniors who require minimal assistance with daily tasks and do not require the services of a skilled nurse may qualify for an assisted living facility. Residents must show a certain degree of mental alertness as well as the following:
- Able to get dressed without assistance
- Able to feed his or her self
- Able to eat meals in a central dining room or common area with other residents
- Able to use the bathroom without assistance
- Require minimal assistance with personal care
Residents may have their own apartment or private room, though they may share it with a roommate or housemate. Units typically do not have kitchens, but do offer a private bathroom and a storage unit. Shared spaces usually include the dining room, living room, and laundry room. Most facilities have an emergency call system so that residents can receive help when needed. Policies vary among assisted living facilities when it comes to residents’ use of a walker or wheelchair.
What assistance can a resident expect from the facility?
This will vary among facilities, and a nursing home lawyer Lanham MD families trust might suggest you get the facility’s list of amenities in writing before signing a contract. The following services are commonly available in an assisted living facility:
- Meal preparation
- Central dining programs that offer choices of meals served in a shared meal setting
- Organized recreational and social activities
- Basic health services (check-ups, routine medical care, etc.)
- Transportation to/from nearby shops, etc.
- Security services and twenty-four hour staffing availability
- Bathing assistance
- Assistance with taking and regulating medications
- Some facilities also offer Memory Care housing for residents with Alzheimer’s which are usually located in a separate wing or floor. A nursing home lawyer Lanham MD residents trust might suggest you ask about their policy for moving a resident to this special housing if necessary.
What kind of housing units do assisted living facilities offer?
This varies greatly by facility and location. Those that are located in urban areas or cities may be extensive apartment buildings. In suburban areas, facilities are often spread out in complexes that may be one or only a few stories tall. An assisted living community may house as few as 20 residents or as many as several hundred. The type of unit and number of residents should be considerations when choosing an assisted living facility.
Assisted Living Facilities Go by Several Names
A nursing home lawyer Lanham MD relies on can represent clients who live in extended health care facilities regardless of what name it goes by. Assisted living facilities are also called:
- Personal care homes
- Board and care homes
- Domiciliary care homes
- Sheltered housing
Tips for Choosing the Right Assisted Living Facility for Your Loved One
If possible, include your loved one in the decision making and selection process. It’s very important to visit each potential community in person. By doing this, your loved one can get a good sense of whether or not he or she would be comfortable living there. An experienced nursing home lawyer Lanham MD recommends might stress the importance of choosing a facility carefully. Consider the following when evaluating each one you visit:
- Determine your loved one’s needs and preferences. These can be anything from medication assistance to decor. Write them down in order of priority. Take this list with you when you visit each facility and take lots of notes. First impressions are often invaluable but can be forgotten. Some of the things you may wish to take notes on include:
- Does the community feel comfortable or similar to home?
- Are the living units acceptable in terms of space, privacy, safety, accessibility of cabinets and storage, etc.
- Write down a list of questions to ask staff members. While asking, gauge their level of interest toward the residents. You may wish to ask some of these questions:
- Are staff members available 24/7 for residents?
- Are all the exits and entrances secured from outsiders and to prevent residents from leaving the building unattended?
- Is there an emergency call button in each living unit?
- Are wearable emergency call buttons available to residents?
- Is there a fire sprinkler system installed in the common areas?
- Are there smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in each room of the living areas?
- Are there handrails in the showers, bathtubs, and hallways?
- Are walkers and wheelchairs allowed, and are all of the areas accessible?
- Are the hallways and outside pathways well lit?
- How often are the exterior walkways shoveled or treated in the event of ice and snow?
- Is there a social and event calendar available to residents?
- Are there spiritual or religious services available?
- What are the transportation options for residents to visit shops, etc.?
- Is there a gym or workout facility on premises?
- Do residents have access to computers and internet?
- Are there salon or barber facilities on premises, or available nearby?
- Are friends and family permitted to stay overnight while visiting? Is there a limit to the number of nights they can stay? Are there loaner beds or cots available?
- What is the staff to patient ratio?
- What is the staff turnover rate?
- Is there a licensed and registered nurse on premises 24 hours a day?
- How close is the nearest doctor or hospital?
- Write down a list of questions to ask residents. While asking, your loved one can gauge whether or not they feel comfortable with the residents. He or she may wish to ask some of these questions:
- Do they enjoy living here?
- What do they like or dislike about this facility?
- Do they regret moving here? If so, where would they prefer to be?
- How are the food, recreational, and social programs?
- Check the facility’s operating paperwork and care history. These should disclose documented instances of neglect, abuse, or medication errors. Also be sure to perform an internet search to see if any nursing home lawyer in Lanham MD has represented residents at that facility in the past.
- Request copies of their certification and licensing reports.
- Request a copy of the resident contract which should specify their obligations to each resident.
- Get a list of their base and added charges with descriptions. For instance, if laundry service costs extra, it should state what the charge is and what that service includes.
- Use the free comparative tool provided by Medicare to research each facility. The tool is available online at: https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html.
- Consider costs. Some facilities accept Medicaid. A nursing home lawyer Lanham MD families turn to for legal advice might suggest you get the facility’s fee schedule and determine if it’s affordable. Contact Medicaid to see if your loved one is eligible for a subsidy.
A Lanham MD Nursing Home Lawyer You Can Rely On
When incidents of abuse or neglect occur, the attorneys of Cohen and Cohen, P.C. may be able to help. We offer a free no-obligation consultation with one of our lawyers experienced in personal injury cases. When you need a nursing home lawyer Lanham MD is proud to have in the community, call Cohen and Cohen, P.C.