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Resident Assessments
Resident Care and Health Needs Assessment


Assisted living encourages independence, safety, and dignity for residents. It promotes involvement of family and friends. The staff meets each resident's needs and the community offers dining, social involvement and wellness designed to support a quality lifestyle.

One of the best ways to measure an assisted living facility's performance is through resident assessments. If you're looking for assisted care, do you your homework. Ask the community for written material, including copies of the residency agreement that outlines the services, fees, extra charges, move-in and move-out criteria, staffing, and house rules.

You are likely to find out good and bad things no matter where you go, but taking the time to get the complete picture can save you a lot of grief and heartache in the long run.

Finding the right assisted living facility to match your current needs with the care services provided is the very first step. By assessing the current needs and how those needs may evolve over time, gives you the best starting point to gain clarity and direction in the search for the right place.

As you begin your search, assess the current needs (yourself or loved one) and ask each provider how it accommodates changes in those needs over time. Examine your finances and ask about costs. Monthly rates and fee structures vary.

The Pre-Screening and Assessment for Admission to Assisted Living Facilities

The pre-screening checklist assesses your current health needs. It's a quick overview of what the residential care facility uses upon admissions. Use this checklist as a guide to help you select the best, well-equipped community to handle your requirements.

Personal Care Checklist - Make a list of all the special requirements needed for the following:

  • Special Supportive Services
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Dietary/Nutrition
  • Mobility
  • Housekeeping
  • Mental Condition and Confusion
  • Transportation
  • Medical Needs and Monitoring
  • Medication Administration

Health Issues and Conditions

  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Dementia
  • Digestive Disorders
  • Hearing impairment
  • Heart trouble
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Incontinent
  • Stroke
  • Visual Impairment

Explanation of Resident Care Assessment

To live in assisted living, one must be ambulatory or transfer easily with assistance of one staff person. Residents may use the mobility assistive devices independently or with assistance for mobility/transportation purposes only.

Behavior or Mental Condition

The resident must communicate needs, be oriented to place and respond to orientation and direction by the staff. The resident must comply with policies and state/federal regulations. The resident must show respect for other residents, staff, and property. Residents cannot display behavior that jeopardizes the health, safety, physical or mental welfare of the resident or others.

Activities of Daily Living

Activities include grooming, personal hygiene, and dressing. Residents must feed oneself and walk to dining room.

Bowel and Bladder

Occasional incontinence is acceptable, if contained and monitored by the resident.

Medication Administration

Medications kept and self-administered by resident with a physician's written permission. If required, a nurse administers medications, if required by physician. A health history and physical form completed by the resident's personal physician before admission.

Special Supportive Services

These include occasional oxygen needs, providing special dietary services, or any need that requires extra assistance by staff.

How often is a Needs Assessment given?

Being a resident in a facility, the staff needs to know whether the existing care plan is working, or if it needs altering to better meet one's needs. As a resident grows older, care needs deepen.

Find out how often the assisted living facility conducts a care plan evaluation. Ideally the staff evaluates a resident's care plan every few months, or as the staff feels the needs change. During a needs assessment, are new services added, existing services altered or removed, and if each change affects the cost.

How will the Facility Handle the Changing Health Care Needs of a Resident?

Questions to Ask Facility
Questions to Ask Facility

While living in the senior living community, few patients develop chronic illnesses or advanced diseases like heart disease or diabetes. During the care plan session, learn how the facility handles such changes in health. If a resident's health deteriorates and require intense care, ask if the staff is able to handle the resident's new health issues.

Ask how the staff assess a resident's health changes in order to determine the types of care one needs?

How do they determine if the healthcare needs are too medically involved for their skill set and education?

What skill set is the staff equipped with and what types of care needs can they easily respond to?

How often does staff check on residents?

Ask these questions during the service plan execution. Most facilities have a list of services they perform and procedures they can best handle for residents' healthcare.

Residents need privacy, but they also need assistance. During the service plan execution, it's a good time to determine how often the staff checks in throughout the day and night. Obviously the more care a person needs, the more check-ins a resident needs.

The facility should have standard procedures in place for monitoring its residents. Learn what those are.

Service planning is a critical issue. It gives the resident and family a good idea of how care's handled, as well as the costs associated with that care.

Carol Marak
Carol Marak

After seven years of helping her aging parents, Carol Marak has become a dedicated senior care writer. Since 2007, she has been doing the research to find answers to common concerns: housing, aging and health, staying safe and independent, and planning long-term.