It’s important to meet with a wide variety of staff as you evaluate which assisted living community is the best choice for your loved one. When making appointments to visit the communities, be sure to visit them more than once. Additionally, advise the person doing the scheduling that you want to meet the admissions director, medical caregiving staff, activities director, physical therapist, chef and most importantly, the assisted living executive director (ED).
4 Reasons to Interview an assisted living executive director
Why do we think that interviewing the executive director is so important? This individual is in essence the CEO of the assisted living community, and therefore is very important. The executive director has ultimate authority over all aspects of the community. You need to get to know this person, for these reasons:
1. The buck stops at the ED’s office
There are certain situations which staff members can't resolve. Creating a sincere and open relationship with the ED, allows you to quickly resolve issues general staff can't resolve.
2. The assisted living Executive Director establishes the care philosophy of the community
The executive director is the key to effectively implementing and maintaining the care standards and guiding philosophies of the
community. For example, if the assisted living center includes memory care, it should follow a person-centered care model--the best approach for dementia sufferers.
These communities provide loved ones with state-of-the-art dementia care in a safe and professional environment. The executive director should have a deep and profound connection to helping the residents. You’ll run across executive directors that are all business. While it’s important to take a business approach to the community, this shouldn't come at the expense of patience and compassion.
3. Staff performance is tied to the executive director’s management
The executive director is the individual who is ultimately responsible for modeling the practices that motivate and inspire staff. Many studies conclude that staff who feel empowered by management often have higher rates of retention and lower turnover. Both of these are very important to maintaining a happy and healthy living environment for assisted living residents.
4. The ED is responsible for providing you with state health survey data
It is absolutely critical for you to ask to see recent state inspection survey results. If asked, the community must provide this information. When you ask the ED for the most recent survey report, evaluate if it is provided without hesitation. If not, this may be a huge red flag. Additionally, make sure the report is recent, within the last 9-15 months. If the assisted living community has a citation in a particular service area, be sure to ask the ED about it. Be cautious about selecting a community with a high number of deficiencies compared to other centers in your area and in your state as a whole.
Repeated visits and conversations with the assisted living executive director at your favorite assisted living centers are important. After doing so, you will likely find one you trust most and believe will provide the best care for your loved one.
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