Any loss of life is a tragedy. Anytime an injury or death occurs as the result of an accident in an assisted living community it is critical that all the facts be analyzed to determine the cause, and if possible, how to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Frontline’s recent expose on Assisted Living and the staff training provided concentrated largely on a handful of tragic accidents. Our hearts break for those residents and their families. However, based on our nearly three decades of experience in the senior living industry, we believe the story was not balanced or reflective of the industry as a whole.
Sadly, the program centered on death and unforeseeable incidents rather than the comfort, independence and quality of life that is provided to the majority of the over 750,000 seniors residing in assisted living communities. The fact is there are two sides to every story and the vast majority of senior housing providers are dedicated to providing person-centered care that addresses the resident’s needs, preferences, and safety.
As our name implies, Care and Compliance Group is founded on the ideal that quality care and safety standards should be paramount in caring for aging seniors. It is true; there are complex dynamics of caring for aging seniors. As a company, we wholeheartedly advocate for certification and continuing education of Assisted Living administrators, healthcare professionals and community staff. For more than 27 years we have provided comprehensive, practical training that is compliant with individual state requirements.
Regulations vary from state-to-state and we will never rest in our goal to ensure each caregiver has the tools, training and support needed to provide the seniors they serve with a safe and enriched environment. However, longer training hours is not subsequently the cure-all to quality care nor can it ensure that all accidents will be prevented. We believe in outcomes-based training that is focused on developing the knowledge and skills required to meet the need of the resident population being served. Many of our clients tell us that as a result of comprehensive and on-going training there are downward trends in human errors (e.g., reductions in medication errors) and an increase in quality and resident satisfaction.
The Frontline report also inferred that had certain residents been in a skilled nursing facility as opposed to an assisted living community that they would have received more attention, better care, and perhaps the outcomes for those residents would have been different. Rather than a “one size fits all” approach, initial and ongoing assessments are an important part of the resident’s plan of care to help determine the appropriateness of residency in a particular assisted living community. The type of care and needs of the residents are individually assessed by assisted living communities and the decision to remain in assisted living is determined by state regulations in combination with what the care provider, resident, and family decide.
The bottom line is while we do not believe the Frontline program adequately portrayed the Assisted Living industry, we do believe it will engage the industry in a larger discussion about training and best practices – a discussion that is a win-win for caregiver education and resident care.