What to Keep in Mind when Choosing an Assisted Living Facility in New Jersey

Who Needs Assisted Living Facilities?

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, on the other hand, can provide both long term and short term support and is more flexible to the needs of the residents.

Assisted living facilities may provide specialized senior care services, as in the case of long-term care for 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, says assisted living services provider Seacrest Village. They may also provide day care facilities for seniors who cannot be left unattended when the rest of the family is away at work.

Health Insurance and Assisted Living

Previously, the state of New Jersey provided for the elderly and the disabled with home and community based long-term care through various Medicaid Waiver programs. However, as this accounted for 34.1% of the total Medicaid expenses of the state, according to a report in NJ Spotlight, it proved to be non-viable. New Jersey is therefore transitioning from to Managed Long Term Services and Support. 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 will have five Managed Care Organizations or MCOs that will 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 will be 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 becoming more affordable, while also offering independent living options to seniors.

Guide to Choosing an Assisted Living Community

The Assisted Living Federation of America provides a checklist for anyone who is looking to find a facility for elderly family member. In keeping with the motive of the organization, 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 basics, such as the health facilities provided by the community, but also looks into minute details, such as the material used for flooring and the firmness of 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 details 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.

Assisted Living Regulations in New Jersey

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 an assisted living facility to know about this program, since it is geared to conducting surveys on such facilities by collecting data that meet the benchmarks established by a peer review panel. The department hands out the distinction of Advanced Standing to facilities that comply with local, state and federal regulations, and also has the power to remove a facility from the program if it is, at any point in time, found lacking as per the DOH standards.

It is, therefore, an effective measure of efficiency of an assisted living facility or a comprehensive personal care home, says the Assisted Living State Regulatory Review 2013, published by the National Center for Assisted Living.

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