Seniors and their families frequently have numerous questions concerning what they should expect throughout the transitioning process.
One of the initial and most essential processes that seniors complete when transitioning into a senior living residence is a needs assessment. When new residents join a community, appointed staff will perform a detailed evaluation to assess the new resident’s current physical and cognitive wellbeing. This process helps staff ensure each resident receives the most appropriate care from the very beginning.
Needs Assessment Expectations
A needs assessment is a data collection process which allows a community to better understand a resident’s life, interests, needs, and functional abilities. It is an important part of providing comprehensive, personalized care to their senior residents. Each community develops its own needs assessment process, but all assessments typically include these 4 basic areas of focus:
1. Mental and Behavioral Condition
Communities will examine a senior's general behavior and interactions. They want to determine whether the senior can comply with the fundamental policies and procedures that allow the community to operate in a safe and legally compliant manner. Community staff need to know how the new resident communicates needs, reacts to guidance from staff, and interacts with others. During the assessment, staff will also evaluate the resident’s mental state and establish whether they are showing any signs of confusion or cognitive impairment. In doing so, the community can be prepared to provide specific accommodations and care for that resident.
2. Health Conditions and Considerations
The needs assessment will review the senior’s medical history and health problems, ranging from joint pain and digestive issues to cancer and heart conditions. The assessment will also test the resident’s vision, hearing, and continence so that necessary considerations can be added to their care plan. In addition, all the senior’s prescribed medications will be logged and researched to ensure proper management and administration of those medications.
Some residents may need special assistance and additional support from staff on a regular basis. The assessment will document the specific care requirements for that senior, including any mobility limitations, dietary restrictions, and housekeeping needs.
3. Hygiene and Personal Care Needs
In many cases, there are seniors who require assistance with certain activities of daily living, such as washing, dressing, hygiene, or toileting. In such situations, staff will annotate these needs during the assessment process so that all hygiene and personal care necessities can be included in the resident’s care plan.
4. Questions to Ask During a Needs Assessment
During the needs assessment, inquiries will be directed to the senior resident as much as possible; yet, family members should be prepared to aid the evaluation process by answering certain questions and providing clarifying information as needed. Similarly, seniors and their families should also be ready to ask questions of their own, to include the following:
- How frequently do staff check on residents?
- How is a resident’s individual care plan carried out?
- How often is a resident’s individual care plan reverified and updated?
- What methods can residents use to request assistance from staff?
- What types of training are onsite staff provided and what types of care needs can they readily address?
- Who manages and administers medications to residents?
Responses to these types of questions can help you better understand the processes a community employs to ensure residents are properly cared for.
Please keep in mind that a needs assessment is a very crucial part of determining what forms of care will enable your loved one to flourish in a safe, nurturing environment. Our advisors at Assisted Living Locators of Northern Virginia are here to guide you through the senior living process from A to Z.