Placing a loved one is already a difficult task considering they are going to a place you are not familiar with yet. To help ease this discomfort, it is important to look into the staff-to-resident ratio. This number determines how many employees are taking care of a resident at a particular time.
What Does This Mean?
In senior living, residents are placed into various levels of care depending on their personal care needs. Some residents need very little assistance during a 24-hour period, or they may only need bathing assistance a couple of times a week. Whereas, other residents may need multiple staff interactions per day for their care needs. The staffing ratios in a senior living community are based on how many residents are in each particular level of care.
If the majority of residents are in a high level of care offered by the senior living community, the staffing ratio will be higher. However, if the majority are in low levels of care, the ratios are adjusted to meet the needs of the residents.
Make sure that while you are looking at the staff-to-resident ratio, you only account for the staff that will provide personal care assistance to your loved one. It’s only direct care staff that you should be asking about, for example, nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants.
It’s important to ask if there is 24-hour nursing in a senior living community because a qualified medical staff member can determine if a resident concern is emergent or if it only requires a call to the doctor. The nurse determines if it is an emergency or not. Our goal is to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations for seniors, and having a nurse 24/7 gives you more of a chance to avoid that hospitalization.
The staff-to-resident is significant, as it determines how much personalized care a resident will receive. There will be someone there to take care of emergencies, health complications, and increase the frequency of social interactions. The staff is also there to create relationships with the residents and make sure they are socializing daily.
Visiting a Senior Living Community
It may be a good idea to visit the community to get a feel for the staff-to-resident ratio. An important factor to consider while visiting a community is the time that you choose to go, as the number of employees on staff differs throughout the day. Have the director of sales and marketing at the community explain how the staffing ratios work so that you feel comfortable.
The Importance of Timing
In a residential apartment, there are several emergency pull cord locations. A resident can use the pull cord when they need assistance. However, the assessment done by the nursing staff prior to a resident having moved in hopefully will have anticipated a resident’s needs throughout the day. For example, if a resident typically uses the bathroom at various times a day, the goal of the staff would be to assist the resident prior to them having to even use the pull cord.
Locate the evening staff-to-resident ratio as well. Typically, through the night, the residents don’t need as much hands-on care so the ratio is lower.
An appropriate amount of staff, based on the levels of care in the entire community, will ensure that any unforeseen emergencies are taken care of swiftly. The staff will accommodate resident needs which also includes socialization and keeping the residents happy and healthy.
Keep in mind that activities staff, therapy staff members, dining staff and administrators all take part in a resident’s day as well.
We Can Help!
Senior Living Experts is here to help you determine which communities are the best fit for your loved one. We can help you break down the staff-to-resident ratio to ensure that you have a good stance on how your loved one will be taken care of in their new home.
Give us a call at 773-302-2015 to contact one of our advisors. They will be here to help you with your search!