Choosing a Residential Care FacilityIn making the decision to seek an alternate living arrangement for your care-receiver you will first need to consult with your physician. The physician can be your best ally since most facilities require a current complete physical exam and the physician can assess the level of care your care-receiver needs.
This is important in order to determine which type of licensed care facility you will be seeking, from the Acute Hospital to Sub-acute Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) or Residential Facility for Elderly (RFE) (more commonly referred to as Board and Care or Retirement Homes). The RFE is for non-medical care and supervision which may include personal services (help in bathing and grooming, guidance in dressing, aid in taking self-administered medications) and help with other daily living activities.
Seek a licensed facility, since people who need care and supervision are often defenseless against abuse or exploitation. The law requires that care facilities be licensed. So when you select a care facility, check for the license to assure the protection provided by law and quality care for your loved one.
What Should I Look for When I Visit a Care Facility?
It is ideal if both you and your care-receiver could preview a care facility prior to deciding. Both prior to and during the preview process you have the opportunity to further discuss your feelings in making the decision. Since you have many things to do during your visit, you will find the outing less stressful and easier afterward to evaluate if you organize your thoughts beforehand, write down the questions you wish to ask, carry this checklist during your visit and make notes while looking around and talking to different people. Some items you may want to cover during your initial visit to insure quality care are:
Contact your County or State Department of Social Services for a copy of their Consumer's Guide to Community Care Facilities or equivalent.
- Ask to see the facility license,
- Look closely at the building and grounds,
- Talk to some facility residents,
- Talk to the facility administrator who is in charge of daily operations,
- Talk to some facility staff members,
- Ask to see a copy of the Admission Agreement.