|SCALFA's Care Provider Philosophy|
|Written by Administrator|
|Tuesday, 10 November 2009 00:11|
A vital role of the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) is to advocate on behalf of senior living and the residents served by senior living companies.
ALFA works with its state affiliates and chapters, along with legislators, regulators and advocacy groups to ensure that assisted living laws and regulations serve the best interests of assisted living providers, their residents and family members. ALFA supports meaningful and appropriate oversight of assisted living in each state.
ALFA’s Core Principles, promulgated and approved by the ALFA's Board of Directors, are used to guide ALFA’s efforts in shaping public policy. These principles encourage consumer choice, quality care and accessibility for all Americans needing assistance with long-term care. Download ALFA's Core Principles.
The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) continuously raises the bar for operational excellence in resident centered assisted living, serves as the voice of assisted living and advocates for informed choice, quality care and accessibility for all Americans needing assistance with long-term care.
Through the committed leadership of its members, state affiliates, state chapters and alliance partners, ALFA iscreating the future of senior living.
Assisted Living is regulated in all 50 states and ALFA supports the continuation of regulatory oversight at the state level. ALFA does not recommend one singular approach to regulatory oversight but rather supports sufficient flexibility to allow adaptation to state needs. However ALFA does support certain core principles that we believe should be included in every state’s assisted living legislative or regulatory framework.
The philosophy of assisted living is unique and in many ways serves as the cornerstone of assisted living.Too often state regulations either fail to address the assisted living philosophy, or they include a philosophythat is traditionally applied to nursing homes and is not a true reflection of the more independent residentcenteredmission of assisted living.
The decision on when to move out of an assisted living community is a personal decision that takes thoughtful planning. Unfortunately too frequently the decision on when a resident has to leave an assisted living community is made not by the resident or family, but by state regulations.
One of the most difficult decisions family members and loved ones need to make is where to live at the end of life. Hospice is a benefit that provides excellent assistance during this difficult time. While many consumers choose to have hospice in their own home, for others the preference is to have the hospice benefit provided in assisted living, as should be their right. Unfortunately not every state allows hospice residents this right.
The decision on where to live is a personal decision that requires thoughtful planning. The resident-centered focus of assisted living contributes to a variety of communities to meet the varied needs of elderly consumers. The expansive choices available to consumers can sometimes be overwhelming. Consumer disclosure is key to help consumers understand the differences among assisted living communities and select the one that best meets their needs or the needs of a loved one.
Recent disasters such as hurricanes and fires have demonstrated the need for comprehensive disaster planning and raining for assisted living communities. Lessons learned from these experiences must be incorporated to make sure that disasters of any size and magnitude are covered under each community plan.
There is some confusion by the public, media and elected officials concerning the licensure/certificationstatus of assisted living. Every state has a regulatory framework for licensing assisted living communities,although not every state has chosen to use the term assisted living. Providers of assisted living that choose tooperate outside the sanctioned state regulatory framework, are not subject to state oversight and thereforedo a disservice to consumers.
One of the major reasons why consumers move into assisted living is because they want assistance managing their medications. Research has shown that assisted living residents take an average of 8 medications per day. Policies and procedures need to be in place to reduce medication errors.
Residents in assisted living are entitled to make decisions about the way they want to lead their lives. At times these decisions could involve an element of risk to the resident. However, this is the essence of choice. Negotiated risk agreements are an excellent formal mechanism to allow residents to make informed decisions about their care and to document that the parties have had an open and frank discussion regarding the decision and possible outcomes.
Fire safety is a major concern for assisted living residents. There are a number of safety measures that can be incorporated into the physical plant to help ensure the safety of the residents. Because fire safety is regulated by assisted living rules as well as building codes, it is imperative that the two regulatory frameworks be coordinated for a consistent fire safety plan.
There are certain pre employment qualifications that are necessary to ensure the safety of assisted living residents. Criminal background checks are a necessary requirement to identify if staff have prior convictions that could endanger a vulnerable population. Tuberculosis testing is another pre-employment requirement that can protect the health of residents.
The foundation of resident centered care is the Individualized Service Plan (ISP), designed to meet theindividual needs and preferences of each resident. The ISP is developed after an assessment process thattakes into account not only what services a resident needs, but what they want as well. Without the benefitof an ISP, there is the risk that the care will be delivered at the convenience of staff and not for the benefitof the resident.
Residents of assisted living do not “check their rights” at the front door upon moving into an assisted living community. To assume that someone cannot continue to have the same rights to privacy, independence and decision making no matter where they live, is discriminatory.
Hiring the right staff to work in an assisted living community is one of the most important decisions a provider will make.
Assisted living communities are designed to care for a wide range of residents with varying needs. To beable to appropriately meet each resident’s needs, assisted living communities need to have flexibility indetermining staffing levels. The number of staff will vary as the resident population changes. Just as theservices provided by assisted living providers can vary, so do the needs of residents. Whereas one assistedliving community may offer care specialized for individuals with dementia, another community may focuson providing services for residents with lower acuity needs. State regulations regarding staffing, in turn,must demonstrate sufficient flexibility so that the actual needs of the residents can be met in a safe,professional manner.
It is critical that assisted living staff be trained in a wide variety of areas to help them fulfill their job responsibilities. However because assisted living communities may serve different populations, providers doneed a certain amount of flexibility to determine the training needs of their staff.
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