For many readers the topic I’m writing about today will seem obvious. Yet over the past few months I’ve heard of this happening a couple of times; residents being left alone in a residential care home.
In one instance the manager designee of a home wanted to check the mail for the facility. She thought that because the mailbox was just down the block, it would be ok to quickly walk down and grab the mail. Upon returning from the mailbox the caregiver was greeted by the surveyor from Arizona Department of Health Services. Needless to say, the survey was very thorough. The result was the licensee receiving multiple citations and ultimately, a hefty enforcement. In this case, $2500. This assisted living home now has a tarnished record visible to anyone researching the facility via Carecheck.
In another occurrence, an assisted living home owner left residents alone in the facility in order to drive to the nearby pharmacy and pick up subscriptions. My impression was the residents were quite independent and the owner was sure everything would be fine. A placement agent happened to stop by during this time to visit the facility. He found the residents alone with no staff present. Calls were made and thankfully another industry peer was able to come and monitor the residents until the owner arrived. Huge safety risks aside, this did not give a very good reputation for someone evaluating a facility for potential placement.
AL101: DHS Rules
Here’s the relevant Arizona Department of Health Services rule-
- A manager of an assisted living home shall ensure that:
- At least the manager or a caregiver is present at an assisted living home when a resident is present in the assisted living home and:
- Except for nighttime hours, the manager or caregiver is awake; and
- If the manager or caregiver is not awake during nighttime hours:
This one isn’t vague or ambiguous. It’s very clear.
The most fundamental commitment we make to our residents is providing supervised care. This is one of the main reasons why families choose a residential assisted living home and not a large facility.
Do not, under any circumstances whatsoever, leave your residents unattended and alone in the assisted living home. Just don’t do it. Ever.