News & Press: Regulatory
DHS Identifies Supervision As a Growing Problem in AL Facilities
Sunday, August 19, 2018 (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sarah Bass
From Forbes McIntosh, Government Policy Solutions, WALA Lobbyist
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services Division of Quality Assurance Bureau of Assisted Living has seen an increasing number of program services violations by assisted living facilities in the area of lack of supervision, specifically related to elopements and sexual assaults, BAL Director Alfred Johnson said during last week’s Assisted Living Forum in Madison.
He said sexual assault reports most often are resident-on-resident and should be reported to police for criminal investigation first.
A survey of the facility might then be conducted by DHS surveyors – and Johnson reviewed the DHS survey process with Assisted Living Forum participants. During a survey, assisted living surveyors evaluate a facility’s performance and compliance with applicable laws and standards in the areas of resident rights, program services, nutrition and food service, physical environment and safety, medication, and staff training.
The survey visits might be unannounced/unscheduled and would include a meeting with staff in charge and a sampling of residents, conducting a tour of the facility, interviewing family members, reviewing records and reviewing safety code compliance, among other things.
Johnson said DHS staff will not conduct a review or survey of a facility without a specific complaint. For example, if a resident’s family member from out of state calls DHS to say their parent does not seem to be doing well and the facility might be to blame, that is not specific enough to prompt an investigation by DHS.
Johnson did note that the majority of complaints filed against AL facilities come from resident family members.
One forum participant shared that in her experience, a facility can reduce the number of complaints filed just by communicating more with residents and their family members, especially in a proactive manner. She said she occasionally reaches out to family members via phone just to check in to see how things are going for their loved one at the facility and it has made a difference in reducing conflicts.