Consumer Reports. Assisted Living Today.

October 2017 Edition - Consumer Reports magazine is highlighting Long Term Care, specifically, assisted living this month.

Meg Miller, Executive Director of Peabody Home is strongly encouraging everyone to read the article and takes a moment to summarize some of the more important issues in the article and breaks down how the team at Peabody addresses these very same issues.

Why is it difficult to differentiate Nursing Level of Care with Assisted Living Level of Care?

Very simply, Nursing Care is highly regulated and Assisted Living is not. Nursing Level of care is what is accessed for Medicare and Medicaid payment. Assisted Living is primarily paid for privately. The State of New Hampshire requires 24hr/7 days a week of an RN (Registered Nurse) or/and LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) to be in the building and awake in Nursing Level of Care. This position at Peabody Home is called “Nurse Manager.’ Nursing Level of care must also use LNA’s (Licensed Nursing Assistants). In Assisted Living there is no regulation that the facility must have Nurses or LNA’s, the Assisted Living can be staffed with “care givers” over 18yrs old. The regulations do indicate what basic training staff need but there is no “license requirements.” This makes it difficult for the consumer to know who is caring for your loved one and do they have the expertise to be caring for your loved one. A quote from the CR article states “many Assisted Living Facilities lack the resources or expertise to meet the needs of a population that requires increasingly intensive medical care.” Quote #2 “Many Assisted Living Facilities are taking Residents who have no business being there.” In other words, they are too ill/frail to be in Assisted Living.

Peabody Home has both Nursing Level of Care and Assisted Living. Offering 24hr/7 days a week Nurse Manager coverage and use LNA’s 24hr/7 days a week in Nursing; while providing LNA and Care Giver coverage in Assisted Living. The benefit at Peabody Home is there is always a Nurse on site, around the clock, to do a physical assessment should that be needed in the Assisted Living residential environment. This operational practice is what the article refers to as a “Continuing Care Community.”

Most Assisted Living is paid for privately.

Federal Medicare and Medicaid do not pay for this care. The average monthly cost for Assisted Living Nationally is $3,628.00/month. This includes meals, housekeeping, laundry, medication administration, activities and some transportation. Additionally, some “memory care” Assisted Living providers charge over $6,000.00/month based on the needs of the customer.

Peabody Home charges $3,700.00 per month for Assisted Living.

How does the Community determine the cost of care?

Many communities, particularly for profit facilities, determine what the staffing levels should be based on market rate charges and profits. Peabody Home believes all communities, both for profit and not for profit, should base the staffing levels on the unique care needs of the individual resident. However notes, staffing costs are the highest expense of any Assisted Living/Nursing Facility.

Peabody Home bases all staffing levels around the needs of the current Residents. There is a base rate for the room, meals, housekeeping, laundry, activities and medication administration. The “hands on” care is charged based on the needs of the resident. The charges are clear and transparent.

Here are a few key consumer protection suggestions highlighted from the article:

1. Define Assisted Living and levels of care offered. Be sure the needs of your loved one can be met in the settings you are looking at.

2. Ask about set staffing levels, credentials of the staff and Annual Training provided to the staff.

3. Make sure the Resident Rights are posted in the facility and are honored by the staff.

4. Make sure the price of care and quality of care are transparent.

Long Term Care is something most of us do not want to even think about.

Although it is not fun, exploring the options for Long Term Care in your area is important to do BEFORE you need services. In the many years that Meg has been a Nursing Home Administrator she expressed that the majority of people “shopping” for Long Term Care are shocked that Medicare does not cover chronic, long term care needs. It is important for you to know what types of care are available, how much it costs and how extensive is the coverage.

Call us if you have questions or wish to learn more about how Peabody Home can help.

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