Search for Assisted Living by ZIP Code:  :

Staff Training
Staff Training in Assisted Living

Staff Training in Assisted Living

How well will the staff at the assisted living care for you? Its top news: Medical errors are prevalent at assisted-living facilities across the U.S. and facilities fined for problems, yet remain in operation without paying the penalties.

How often do assisted living facilities neglect serious medical issues, give the wrong medication or fail to care for vulnerable seniors? Families believe health-care facilities lack training,supervision,and oversight.

Ongoing investigations uncover a host of problems within each of the state's assisted living industry. It's your duty to know the facts about the training and education classes given at the facility. It's imperative for your health care needs.

What You Should Know About Education & Training

Learn about Education and Training of Staff
Learn about Education and Training of Staff

The American Health Care Association says, "A critical element of an effective compliance program is training the facility's employees and contractors on the compliance program. This should include training on both the company's compliance program itself (i.e., how the program operates, who is the compliance officer, etc.) and on the applicable laws and company policies that make up the compliance program."

Training and development in is an ongoing process and education is necessary for all staff that comes into contact with residents. As senior care grows, specializations offer different parts to the care deliveries. It changes and evolves. The training and development of health care workers must evolve too.

The staff must embrace the effectiveness of training and be reviewed, tested and rated in the efficiencies and levels of care knowledge.

Assessing a Facility

During the evaluation stage of assessing a facility, learn the training deliveries and components for each staff member, and how they're evaluated, tested and rated. You must know if the training they receive is sufficient to care for you as needs evolve.

First, learn about the education and training programs offered to the staff when first employed and the ongoing training after that.

In an assisted living facility, staff having contact with residents including the administrator must have required initial training and refresher training as needed. In a specialty care assisted living facility, each staff member must have initial training in the basics and complete the Dementia Education and Training.

All staff having contact with residents in assisted living facilities and specialty care dementia units must receive training on specific heath care topics before having any resident contact and must have a certain amount of hours of continuing education annually.

All states requirements differ-know them. The more training received, the better the care.

Topics of staff education and training - during your visit, ask the administration if the care staff receives training and education in the following areas:

Resident Care Training

  • Assisting with Activities of Daily Living
  • Activities: Encouraging Resident Participation
  • Bloodborne Pathogens and Precautions
  • Calling 9-1-1
  • Caring for Bedridden Residents
  • Caring for Persons with Lung Disease, Diabetes, Cancer
  • Dignity and Sexuality Issues
  • Effects of Medications
  • Emergency Procedures
  • End of Life
  • Fall Precautions
  • Feeding assistance
  • Food Safety
  • Infection control
  • Medication management
  • Monitoring residents for changes in condition
  • Managing Challenging Family Situations
  • Nurse Supervision in long-term care
  • Orientation and Resident Rights
  • Pressure Ulcers
  • Psychosocial Care
  • Recognizing Diversity
  • Recognizing and Reporting Elder Abuse
  • Special Care Needs: Oxygen, Ostomy, Catheter, and Skin Breakdown
  • Special Care Needs of the Elderly
  • Understanding Mental Illness: Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Schizophrenia
  • Vital Signs
  • Wheelchairs and Other Ambulatory Aides

Dementia Care Training

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aggressive Behaviors
  • Dignity and Sexuality Issues
  • Effects of Medications on Persons with Dementia
  • Health Complications
  • Hydration
  • Sundowning
  • Wandering
  • Therapeutic Interventions, Activities, and Communication

Management Training

  • Incident reporting
  • Leadership Skills: Expectations and responsibilities of lead caregivers, daily duty reporting
  • Service Plans: The purpose of a service plan, What the service plan should include, The role of a caregiver, Regulatory requirements
  • Each state has different rules regarding continuing education, while others do not require any at all. Check your state's licensing requirements for both the administrators and staff of assisted living facilities. Check your state.
  • Why is staff education and training important?
  • When trained well, the staff helps eliminate errors in assisted living facilities:
  • Medical mistakes or if they happen, then reporting the medical mistakes to residents and administration;
  • Schedule medical appointments ordered by a doctor;
  • Knowing when the resident's need escalates and the level of staff training cannot meet the demands;
  • Sufficient staffing;
  • Realistic expectations;
  • Communication errors;
  • Increased observation skills;
  • Working with families skills;
  • Putting all skills into action--know-how;
  • Lessened medication errors, including administering incorrect medicine or dosages;
  • Staff ignoring or not treating residents' symptoms; and
  • Safe medicine storage.
  • Matching the staff skills to Resident Needs

Background of Administrators

Evaluating staff in the assisted living facility

Administrators and managers of assisted living facilities have a variety of backgrounds; registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and non-nursing backgrounds. They are often promoted into a leadership role because of tenure and experience. Most are reliable, responsible and accountable, the key traits but do not prepare managers to take on the director responsibilities.

In some assisted living facilities, the people in administrative roles do not work where the residents live. What's worse is they are not equipped with skills to assist residents in making health care decisions. Some have little or no health care background. Yet they have an ultra-responsible position to oversee budgets, regulatory compliance, quality assurance and other critical operations.

Find out what types of education and training the management staff receives.

Things Assisted Living Management Should Know

  • The differences of assisted living and how it differs from a skilled nursing home;
  • The leadership approaches used to manage a facility; staff development, recruitment and retention.
  • How to make positive change in a facilities' environment;
  • How to have successful inspections;
  • The legal issues of end-of-life care;
  • The components of a quality improvement program and ongoing monitoring;
  • The strategies in coping with workplace and caregiver stress;
  • Embrace professional development.

Seek out an assisted living facility that cultivates their staff for leadership. The education and training program depends on experience and expertise to teach and mentor future assisted living staff and leaders. This better prepares the facility to provide residents with excellent care and services.

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.