There are many factors to consider when searching for the right senior living facility for your loved one. To make a well-informed decision regarding the facility that you will choose, it can be an excellent idea to do some investigation and to learn about the regulations that senior living facilities must follow. Exact laws vary from state to state, and among different types of amenities, so before making your final decision, be sure to do some research regarding the exact regulations for senior living facilities in your area. Certain types of facilities, such as nursing homes, do have federal laws in place to protect individuals in their care.
Some lobbyists have pushed in recent years to try and enact federal regulations of all senior living facilities. While these regulations could be beneficial in the future to protect seniors from the potential of abuse and disregard, it is up to the loved ones of seniors to do thorough inspections of the facilities they are interested in using to ensure their protection.
Having a basic understanding of the type of regulations you can expect to see implemented, can give you a suitable starting point for your research. Knowing what you should be looking out for as you explore facilities for your senior loved one, can be useful.
Regulations for Nursing Homes
Nursing homes have more regulations in place than other types of senior care facilities due to the vulnerability of their residents. Understanding these statutes can help individuals to make better-informed decisions regarding their choice of nursing home for a senior loved one.
One of the most significant regulations in place for nursing homes regards nursing staff. Regulations mandate that all nursing homes must have an adequate nursing staff for the care of patients - among them, a registered nurse that is available for at least eight hours per day, seven days a week. Most states have even stricter regulations in place than the federal law mandates.
Additionally, nursing home facilities must have a detailed care plan in place for every resident, detailing such factors as the patient's hygiene, feeding, and medical care. Nursing homes must also be able to provide care where a resident of their facility is unable to care for themselves in certain situations - for example, if they are unable to bathe themselves or if they are unable to manage their own medication. Regulations also mandate that patients receive adequate supervision and that they have access to assistive devices (such as mobility devices) as required.
Other factors that nursing homes must meet according to regulations include the keeping of accurate medical records and the right of the patient to choose the activities they partake in, and the medical care that they receive, as far as they are able.
Unlike nursing homes, retirement communities are not regulated at the federal level, though there are some state requirements in place for the regulation of these facilities. While this can be concerning for the families of seniors who are interested in opting for retirement communities, it does not mean that there are no regulations in place at all. It merely means that individuals must be attentive to the needs of their loved one and that they must be vigilant in choosing the right retirement community for their care.
While virtually all states require some amount of disclosure, especially regarding finances, there are far fewer regulations in place concerning the way that retirement communities must conduct their operations. When searching for a retirement community for a loved one, it can be a good idea for individuals to look into the following factors to determine whether the community is a safe and sound place for their loved one.
An important thing to consider is the amount of nursing staff that is available in and around the facility. While retirement communities typically do not need as prominent a nursing staff on site as a nursing home, they will still typically have some nursing staff available to attend to residents as needed. It can also be a good approach to look into the types of services that they offer residents, and whether they assist residents with tasks such as hygiene and medication management. Also, remember that while your loved one may not need certain types of care right away, they may need this care in the future. It can be beneficial to you and your loved one to opt for a community that can extend these services as they are needed.
Specialty Types of Care
In some situations, your loved one may need certain types of care, such as memory care. These specialty facilities do not typically have any additional types of regulations apart from standard nursing homes, so it is up to the loved ones of the individual to do their research and determine whether the facility can adequately care for their loved one.
As is the case with retirement communities, the types of regulations that are in place for specialty types of communities may vary on a state-by-state basis. An excellent starting point for finding out if any specialty care option meets the needs of your loved one is to find out what regulations are in place in your state.
The most important thing to keep in mind when looking at regulations for any type of senior living arrangement is that these regulations are in place to ensure that facilities are meeting the minimum requirements for a senior's proper care. In most instances, you want to look for a particular service to meet your loved one's individualized needs. Whether they have special health issues that need to be addressed or you are purely looking for a facility that will grant them some measure of independence while still receiving regular care from a trained professional. Similarly, the research that you do regarding a senior living facility's policies is only a starting point for determining whether or not that is the right place to provide care for your loved one.