Assisted living facilities often claim to offer a carefree lifestyle for people in their so-called golden years. But state regulations may not be adequate to ensure that these facilities live up to that promise.
What many people don’t realize is that many assisted living facilities don’t have the needed staff to care for people who lose the ability to take care of themselves.
Mitzi McFatrich heads the non-profit Kansas Advocates for Better Care. She’s just back from a national conference where these issues were highlighted.
“People don’t always understand that nursing care isn’t available in the facility," she says. "It has to be available by phone, but that doesn’t mean that there’s a nurse in the facility all the time.”
McFatrich says there are no requirements for any particular number of staff in an assisted living facility, as there are for nursing homes. And in Kansas, a high school diploma is enough to qualify as the operator of an assisted living facility. She also says many people stay in assisted living when their care needs have grown to the point that they really need a nursing home. And a person can be forced out of assisted living on just a 30-day notice.