When deciding to move from home living to assisted living, it is understandable for you or your loved ones to have niggling questions about its services and quality. The good news is, individual states have regulations in place for assisted living facilities to ensure that residents receive the best possible care. States typically conduct regular audits through designated organizations to ensure that communities adhere to the prescribed requirements. Continue reading to learn about the laws that govern assisted living in Alabama.
What is Assisted Living and How is it Governed in Alabama?
Assisted living facilities are of two kinds. The first is a regular assisted living facility that helps residents with their daily activities. These communities may have more than two residents. Another is Specialty Care Assisted Living, a more specialized type of care that assists residents suffering from cognitive deterioration.
The Alabama Department of Public Health (DPH) oversees all assisted living facilities (ALFs) to ensure that the quality of care provided to residents meets their stringent requirements.
Before or during the admission process, the Department of Public Health requires residents to sign a detailed agreement with the assisted living facility. This agreement details various services and charges, such as room and board fees, housekeeping and personal care services and standard discharge policies and associated refunds.
This document also defines the scope of care provided to residents and excludes authorizations for skilled nursing care (unless the resident is admitted to Specialty Care Assisted Living).
Daily Assistance Care Inclusions
Residents admitted to Alabama assisted living facilities must receive assistance with daily living activities (ADLs). These include everything from personal hygiene needs like brushing, bathing and toileting to dressing, eating and medication administration. It also includes housekeeping for resident units, organization of social activities, laundry, transportation and meal services.
Screening and Care Planning
In collaboration with the resident and their sponsor, assisted living facilities must develop a plan outlining the scope and services for care. Residents must undergo a thorough screening that examines everything from their mental and physical well-being to their behaviors and clinical history. A physician conducts the examination, and the results are shared with stakeholders to determine the next course of action.
Regulations for Medication Administration
To avoid the risk of medication mismanagement, strict rules regarding medication administration are in place. The Department of Health requires residents who are aware and of sound mind to administer medication to themselves, with the assistance of team members if necessary.
Residents with ‘awareness’ are those who can fairly understand dose packaging systems and self-administer medications without potential injury or risk to themselves. The extent of team members’ assistance is limited to pouring water or extracting medicines from the package; not preparation or physical assistance to help the resident ingest the medicine.
Residents in specialized care and those with cognitive impairment may receive medication from team members, specifically a medical professional, a licensed nurse or a medical assistant.
Regulations Against Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is a legitimate concern for anyone considering moving themselves or a loved one into an assisted living facility. State laws, however, require all Alabama caregivers to report such cases, incidents, or suspicions (involving neglect or abuse) to Adult Protective Services immediately.