Assisted Living facilities
As a result of the aging population in the American society, the number of elderly has increased significantly. An increasing number of the baby boomers are retiring, many of whom have terminal diseases. There is therefore an increased demand for short term and long term residential care in the American society. These residential care services are provided in the private and public assisted living facilities throughout the country. There is an increased need for the states to increase the number of public funded assisted living facilities and determine the most appropriate standards of private owned facilities in order to provide the best services to the individuals in need. However, it is important to note that in the past, assisted living was mainly provided in the conventional nursing homes but the number of alternative facilities that provide assisted living services has increased significantly. As a result, there is an increased competition between different facilities which has resulted into improved quality of services and the need market regulation (Henneberry, 2000).
Assisted living facilities are residential facilities that provide and coordinate the provision of health care and personal services. They are non medical facilities that provide around the clock supervision and assistance to aged, disabled or individuals in bad health. There are also non residential assisted living facilities that provide day care services and are designated as adult day care centers. These facilities provide assistance to individuals who are unable to carry out the activities of daily living otherwise known as ADLs. The services are provided by medical care workers who coordinate and monitor the activities of the client to safeguard their physical health and safety as well as their general well being. Some of the major services provided in the assisted living facilities include administration of prescribed medication for individuals suffering from terminal illnesses and provision of personalized care by highly trained caregivers. The assisted living institutions that are found in the United States today emerged in the early 1990s due to the increased demand for specialized residential care for senior members of the society who do not require medical residential services provided in the nursing home but requires assistance to carryout activities of daily life (Virginia Department of Social Services, 2008).
As a result of the increased need for assisted living services, there has been a rapid development of assisted living facilities in the United States. However, there are no assisted living facilities that are recognized at the national level. The facilities that exist in the country are regulated by the state government. Moreover, majority of the states designate these facilities as assisted living in licensing. Some states use other designation in granting licenses to private facilities providing assisted living services such as assisted care living, personal care and residential care. For his reasons, the definition of assisted living facilities by licensing and regulation agencies in different states varies.
The services of assisted living facilities are available to individuals who are in need of help in some of their daily activities because they are unable to live on their own independently. Some of the assistances provided include preparation of meals, assistance in feeding, laundry work, administration of medicine, bathing and dressing. The main aim of the assisted living facilities is therefore ensuring that the senior members of the society suffering from terminal illnesses live comfortably. Majority of private assisted living facilities have concentrated on taking care of elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia illnesses. Moreover, many of the patients who require the services of assisted living facilities suffer from memory loss and deteriorating cognitive functioning. Programs to take care of the needs of such patients have been incorporated in many of these residential care centers (Assisted Living Source, 2010).
No matter the health conditions of an individual, the decision to leave his or her home and move into an assisted living facility is not always easy. Even individuals who are unable to get assistance around the clock from their family members find it difficult to be separated from their families. It is therefore appropriate for the assisted living facilities to provide the best services and assistance to their clients. Other than assisting in carrying out the activities of daily living, the facilities need to provide emotional support to clients who may be affected by separation from their family members. Some clients are also stressed or are unable to accept their inability to live independently. The loss of independence, neighborhood, home and the general community may be a source of grief making the inability to carryout normal chores an iceberg of the problems facing individuals in the assisted living facilities (Helpguide. Org, 2010).
It is also important to note that those individuals who require the services of assisted living facilities are already vulnerable. The conditions in the facilities should therefore seek to support the individual and avoid increasing the vulnerability of the client to emotional disturbances. It is the responsibility of the staff in the facility to ensure that the individual does not feel as if he or she is losing his identity or independence. Some of these emotional feeling are very normal which calls for incorporation of psychological therapy and counseling programs in the assisted living facilities. These psychological services will assist the individual to adjust to the physical and social atmosphere in the facility and start living normal life (Helpguide. Org, 2010).
There are a wide range of services that are provided by assisted living facilities. This provides the client to have a wider choice of the services or facility that best fit their preferences and needs. There are overwhelming choices that an individual looking for an appropriate assisted living facility for his or her loved one. Moreover, the facilities and amenities available in the care center are more important than any other factor. The staff as well as the resident in the facilities is the basic factor that can be used to determine the appropriateness of the facility to the client. Competent and well trained staff translates into better services and consequently more conform for the client. The resident in the assisted living facilities also tells a lot on the appropriateness of the facility. This is mainly because the resident and the staff will provide the social and interactive atmosphere which is equally needed by the client. The assisted living facilities need to ensure that their staff promote friendship, are caring and equip them with knowledge and skills that will enable the development of new and lasting relationship between themselves and the resident and among the residents (Phyllis, 1996).
Typically, the main clients in the assisted living facilities are elderly individuals who require assistance in an average of three activities of daily life. These elderly people usually do not require specialized intensive medical care which may require medical residence in a nursing home but requires assistance in major living routines. For this reason, an elderly individual may find life easier after being used to life in the facility due to the company provided by other client of the same age group. However, assisted living facilities are also home to individual who are not elderly but requires assistance. Moreover, there are special medical services such as dental services that need to be provided in the facilities (Widdes, 1996).
Clients who are not elderly may be in the assisted living facility on temporally or long term basis as a result of disability, injury, illness or while recuperating from a medical procedure such as surgery. Such individuals may find it difficult to accept their conditions and adapt to the facility. Moreover, although their conditions may not require intensive medical attention, some may require more skilled nurses and more advanced services. The assisted living facility should therefore try to provide a quality of life that is between residing in a nursing home and at home. That is, the assisted living facilities should provide more assistance and support that it is available at home although it does not provide specialized medical care as for the case of nursing homes and other forms of medical residence.
In general, assisted living facilities provide unique services and facilities to their clients. However, they all have the same mission and vision of providing the best services needs and assisting the individuals maintain their lifestyles despite being incapacitated. As the need for the services of these facilities increases, appropriate strategies to improve client satisfaction is appropriate for any assisted living facility in the country.
Assisted Living Source, (2010). What is assisted living? Retrieved on 12th August 2010 from, http://www.assistedlivingsource.com/.
Helpguide. Org, (2010), Assisted living facilities, Retrieved on 12th August 2010 from,http://helpguide.org/elder/assisted_living_facilities.htm.
Henneberry, J. (2000). Creating Assisted Living Facilities: Expanding Options for Long-Term Care, Retrieved on 12th August 2010 from, http://www.nga.org/cda/files/000215ASSTLIVING.PDF.
Institute for Public Policy, (2009). Proposed regulatory changes to assisted living facilities, Retrieved on 12th August 2010 from, http://www.pacatholic.org/health-care/proposed-regulatory-changes-to-assisted-living-facilities/
Phyllis, M. T. (1996). Assisted living marketing: the 10 essentials. Retrieved on 12th August 2010 from, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3830/is_n4_v45/ai_18335707/
Virginia Department of Social Services, (2008). About ALF, Retrieved on 12th August 2010 from, http://www.dss.virginia.gov/facility/search/alf.cgi.
Widdes, T. (1996). Assisted living’s universal worker. Retrieved on 12th August 2010 from, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3830/is_n4_v45/ai_18335705/