assisted living facilities
In addition to providing information to our agents, we seek information our agents can use when serving the needs of their clients. With that in mind, this article will look at elopement in elder care facilities – who is most likely to do it, and what can be done to prevent it.
One of the primary risks for seniors residing in elder care facilities is their ability to put themselves in harm’s way by leaving the facility unaccompanied and unobserved. Referred to as elopement, this risk primarily affects those with dementia, who may be looking for someone or something familiar. What can an elder care facility do to prevent elopement of its residents?
Understand the Reasons
It is important to understand why a person wanders, so the facility can take appropriate steps for prevention. Many elderly individuals with cognitive issues may wander for reasons, which, on the surface, may not be clear. They may be trying to meet an elemental need such as using the bathroom or getting a drink of water. They may be reacting to something they do not like in the facility’s environment. Or, there may be medical conditions behind their wandering.
When we want to know something, we automatically do a Web search. It is quick, convenient, and provides current information. So, when a family needs to find assistance for an aging parent, or senior needs to make plans when they reach their golden years, they search the Web. They conduct searches for available options and the personal experiences of others. An Internet survey conducted by Pew indicated that 8 out of 10 caregivers have Web access, and 90% of those individuals use it for finding health information for someone else. Since seniors, their families, and caregivers utilize this resource, it makes sense for those providing elder services to create a professional, personal, and positive on-line presence.
A recent survey conducted by G5, a provider of services to senior living facilities, indicated that 75% of consumers do not trust what companies say about themselves; consumer reviews are twelve times more likely to be trusted. For this reason, a facilities website should not only include client’s positive comments and news articles related to the service you provide, but also objective informational content from external sources.
One of the most heartbreaking stories to come out of the devastation of Hurricane Irma might have a life-saving ending. In the months after the storm, 14 residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills died due to heat-related illnesses and complications. The nursing home, located 20 miles north of Miami, had lost power to its air conditioning system on September 10, a scenario Governor Rick Scott hopes to prevent from ever happening again. However, associations representing care facilities are finding the new regulation and the potential requirement to carry liability insurance too far-reaching, expensive, and unrealistic.
The governor's emergency rule issued in October stated that all nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida are now required to install generators that can provide power in the event of an electricity outage. The care homes must also allot for 96 hours of fuel to run the generators. The governor's orders required compliance within 60 days.
Associations representing these kinds of facilities immediately opposed the ruling with two legal filings, arguing that the regulation was not in response to an “immediate danger.” They argued that it could take six months to two years to install a proper generator system. Despite their appeals, the First District Court of Appeal allowed the rule to stand.
Only a few weeks later, an administrative judge sided with the nursing home associations, agreeing that the new rule required too much of the facilities with too short of a deadline. The judge also felt the end of hurricane season being weeks away should allow the facilities more time to abide by the new regulation. With Governor Rick appealingthis decision, the rule remains in effect as the battle continues in court.
Florida legislators are attempting to cement this regulation and are taking the cause even further by requiring all nursing homes and assisted living centers to obtain liability insurance. Their proposed legislation would also allow more state access for investigations and even prioritizes care facilities during power restoration efforts. If passed, this law would require generators in place by July 2018, the start of the next hurricane season, with fines of $1,000 per day for non-compliance.
Meanwhile, the fallout for the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills is not slowing any time soon. Families of affected residents have sued the nursing home for negligence, claiming the facility failed to call 9-1-1 or notify emergency officials of the need for help. State and federal agencies, as well as the local police, are investigating criminal charges. The state of Florida has revoked the center's license, and the feds have banned it from receiving Medicare funding. The center is now closed indefinitely after laying off 245 employees.
Owners of an assisted living facility that houses 17 or more unrelated individuals in Illinois must be licensed by the state. Additionally, 80% or more of the residents must be 55 years of age or older. The facility must also be providing personal and health services twenty-four hours a day with staff assisting with personal needs such as dressing, eating, and hygiene.
Generally speaking, assisted living facilities are not for individuals who require more than one caregiver assisting them in their daily activities. Assisted living facilities are prohibited from admitting residents who pose a threat to themselves and others. Also, residents must need only minimal assistance moving to a safe area during an emergency.
When an occurrence happens that puts your facility at risk, is not the time to begin to be concerned about risk management. The best protection for your facility considers three areas: 1) good management 2) up-to-date, reviewed personnel policies and 3) well-designed insurance coverage.
All the efforts taken to manage a facility well contribute to sound risk management. Fully attentive administrative staff with a wide range of skills may be the most important guard against major risks.
Careful strategic planning and effective supervision helps ensure organizational resources is closely aligned to accomplishing the facility’s mission, and that staff and volunteers are treated fairly and comply with rules and regulations.
Management skills needed for nursing home supervision include:
An incident report is a form filled out to record details of an unusual event that occurs at an assisted living facility involving a patient. Guidelines usually require an incident report when an event occurs that harms an individual, illustrates a potential for harm, or evidences serious dissatisfaction by patients, visitors, or staff. An example of an incident requiring a report would be if a patient's visiting family member helps him out of bed despite directions to the contrary by staff members and the patient falls and is injured.
Incident reports must be completed promptly with all the circumstances surrounding the event, while the details are