By Malcom Jackman
Assisted living facilities provide an amalgamation of services, including housing, individualized care and professional health care for seniors. It is distinct from both nursing homes as well as home health care, since the former is more medically intensive and the latter is limited in its reach and in providing holistic care. Assisted living facilities can provide either long term or short term support and are more flexible to the needs of the resident.
They may provide specialized senior care services as in the case of long-term care of Alzheimer’s patients or they may provide respite services for families who wish to entrust their senior family member in their care, while they take a break. They may even provide day care facilities for a senior who cannot be left unattended when the rest of the family is away at work.
Previously, the state provided for the elderly and the disabled with home and community based long-term care through various Medicaid Waiver programs. However, as this amounted for 34.1% of the total Medicaid expenses of the state, according to a report published in NJ Spotlight, it was proving to be non-viable. New Jersey is therefore transitioning to Managed Long Term Services and Supports. All Medicaid recipients, who are were previously in the fee-for-services program, will be transferred to the MLTSS program by July 1, 2016, according to the Online Legal Encyclopedia, Nolo.
Under the MLTSS, New Jersey has five Managed Care Organizations or MCOs that provide long term care to eligible candidates. If a person is above the age of 65, is physically challenged and meets the income criteria for Medicaid, s/he is eligible to enroll for the MLTSS program. This will not only make nursing home facilities more affordable, but will also promote assisted living facilities that accept Medicaid, thereby not only becoming more affordable, but also making independent living more accessible to seniors.
Guide to Choosing a Facility
The Assisted Living Federation of America provides a checklist for anyone who is looking to find a facility for a senior member of the family. In keeping with the motive of the federation, the checklist attempts to prioritize choice, dignity, independence and quality of life. It, therefore, provides a comprehensive list of things to look out for before entrusting one’s family member to a facility. Not only does it cover the basics, such as the health facilities provided by the community, but also looks into minute details, such as the material of the floors and the firmness of the carpets to ensure ease of walking. It also provides an essential guide to assessing residency agreements and determining whether the health care plans are suitable to the needs of the prospective resident. The checklist also provides answers to essential questions that one may not have ordinarily thought of when looking for a facility. For instance, it recommends that one inquire whether the community conducts criminal background checks on employees and if state inspection reports can be provided for review.
Other than this, it is also noteworthy that the New Jersey Department of Health and The Health Care Association of New Jersey Foundation collaborated to create a voluntary program, called the Advanced Standing, in 2012. It is important for a person looking for a reliable facility to know of this program, since it is geared towards conducting surveys on such facilities by collecting data that meet the benchmarks established by a peer review panel. Therefore, one may opt for a community that accepts Medicaid so as to be able to bear the long term costs without being burdened, while also keeping in mind the guidelines provided by the Assisted Living Federation of America as well as referring to the Advanced Standing program of New Jersey, in order to ensure a compassionate environment for the resident.
Malcom Jackman has years of experience working with assisted living facilities across New Jersey. Malcom is presently affiliated with Seacrest Village. For more information please visit http://www.seacrestvillagenj.com.