Residential Long-Term Care Living With Built-In Services

Word of Mouth - One way to get to know a residential care facility is to talk with people who live there or have friends and relatives who live there. It's a firsthand report on the quality of the care you can expect to receive and on the overall performance of the physical facility. However, as you listen, remember that what you are hearing can be biased by the person's own beliefs and needs. Listen, but keep an open mind.

Advertising- To add another dimension to your research, look at the facilities' advertisements

  • What words do they use to describe themselves and the care they provide
  • What overall picture are they painting of their facility and staff

Keep in mind that the size of a facility's advertisement is not necessarily an indicator of quality care. But ads are a good starting place--along with this guide--to check out options. It is in ads that you may find the greatest disparity of language concerning residential care facilities. They may have chosen advertising classifications or headings that do not necessarily accurately profile their services as licensed.

Some examples of terms used in retirement and long-term care facility marketing are:

  • independent living
  • assisted living, assisted living community
  • permanent residential care
  • lifecare retirement community
  • nursing care
  • retirement community
  • senior campus lifecare communities
  • continuing care retirement communities

Use VHI's LONG-TERM CARE PROVIDER DIRECTORYto pinpoint how a facility or service was licensed at the time of publication. The category under which they are listed in the directory will tell you how they are licensed by Virginia. The directory lists options in your area, in nearby communities and across. You can request verification by contacting the appropriate licensing entity. If you cannot find the residential unit in which you are interested in VHI's Long-Term Care Provider Directory, there may be facilities that have opened or closed since the directory's publication date and you may want to contact the facility directly and/or call a Virginia licensing or regulating department for information. You can contact the Virginia Department of Health to verify a nursing facility's status or the Virginia Department of Social Services to verify an assisted living facility's status. For peace of mind and specific information about a facility, it's a good idea to check the credentialing and/or licensing status of all services and facilities you consider.

Your Physician - No one knows your medical needs, your physical and mental limitations, and, in some cases, your preferences about lifestyle, better than your physician. However, he or she may not know the particulars of your financial capability, so you will have to factor that into your thinking after you know what your physician thinks is in your best interests. When a preadmission assessment is performed, your physician will be instrumental in helping the assessment panel and care manager or coordinator profile your needs. This group will know what the criteria are for admission to each facility type as well as financial eligibility requirements. Their balanced input can be very valuable in your long-term care decision-making process.

Visiting a Facility Almost everything you will read about long-term care stresses the importance of visiting the facilities you are considering. You will find a visitation checklist in this guide as well as a directory of options. It is in everyone's long-term interest, yours and the provider's, for your placement to be one that is satisfying and lasting. You can minimize the likelihood of a later relocation with frequent visits to the facilities you are considering before you make a final decision.

Updated on: 5/21/2021