Every assisted living facility has its share of problems. Some of the worst of these are abuse, neglect and isolation. When you can solve these problems, your assisted living facility will have a far better risk profile and will operate more cost effectively. More importantly, your residents will be happier.
Keeping Abuse From Happening
Abuse is an issue that you can stop immediately, and you should stop it from the beginning. For starters, always thoroughly check the backgrounds of anyone you are considering hiring. During the interview process, it can be useful to ask if they have a family history of abusive behavior directed toward them or their siblings. By only hiring people who are caring and who deal with conflict and stress in a constructive and positive manner, your assisted living facility will have to deal with a tiny fraction of the issues that can come up if you only “react” to existing abuse. Establishing a well-known zero tolerance policy with a financial reward for turning in anyone who is abusing residents can be a powerful motivator for bringing about change.
Continuing Engagement Between Residents and Staff
Engagement needs to be a constant. When engagement stops, neglect is the result and the residents suffer. Making use of common areas so that one orderly can keep track of several residents at once is one step you can take to ensure pleasant engagement. Another way you can keep engagement as the rule instead of the exception is to make regular rounds a standard part of everyone’s day. There needs to be no such thing as “it’s not their job” with your staff — everyone is there to ensure reasonable comfort and care for the residents at all times.
Making Isolation a Non-issue
Isolation can be especially tricky for people of advanced years or with infirmities, as a general lack of mobility can hinder even the most sociable person to the point of having very little contact with anyone. You can use group activities such as performances, game nights and movies to keep your residents engaged with one another. You can also invite community groups and young people who are interested in community service to your assisted living facility to hang out with your residents and keep things fresh.
Your goals obviously include having the lowest risk profile possible. Never forget this is always about making sure your residents are well cared for.