How important are licensed nurses for assisted living and memory care?

The care provided by licensed nurses is often essential for achieving these goals. A nurse on-site 24 hours a day on every day of the week can save lives and decrease visits to the emergency room.

Assisted living and memory care communities are designed to promote aging in place by supporting independence and quality of life.
The care provided by licensed nurses is often essential for achieving these goals. A nurse on-site 24 hours a day on every day of the week can save lives and decrease visits to the emergency room.

The role of a licensed nurse is diverse and includes such responsibilities as providing comprehensive nursing assessments, medication management, care planning, educating and training, monitoring sensitive healthcare markers, and developing interventions to preserve resident safety and dignity. They often serve as healthcare liaison – coordinating care between a resident, the resident’s physician, the resident’s family, and
care staff.

Licensed nurses are professionally trained to know first-hand the nuances of personal care and to know how best to monitor, assess and intervene when changes in residents behavior, routine or condition occur. With 24-hour licensed nursing on-site, a resident will get prompt attention if there is a medical problem.

When medical needs in the elderly are assessed early, treatment can be started promptly and serious health crises are often avoided. Additionally, the scope of practice for a licensed nurse versus a med-tech or med-aid allows them to quickly process physician orders over the telephone and implement immediately rather than waiting for the signed physician orders to arrive. As a result, residents receive treatment earlier and can return back to a healthier state. It also gives the community an opportunity to evaluate falls before sending a resident to an emergency room, possibly preventing an unnecessary emergency room visit. This collaboration and communication between the physician and nurse allows for a quick resolution to immediate medical needs.

As the state of Washington does not require 24/7 on-site nursing, only some communities offer the comprehensive service. When researching an assisted living or memory care community for your loved one, the following questions are helpful in determining the extent of nursing care the community offers:

  • Is there a nurse?
  • What are the hours the nurse is available? Is there more than one nurse on staff? During what hours?
  • Who oversees the care plan and changes to the resident’s care plan?
  • Who gives the medication? Is the medication administered by a licensed nurse, med-aid or med-tech?
  • Who assesses the resident for change in condition, behavior or routine?

Article Provided by:
Koelsch Senior Communities

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When The Care Receiver Lives With you

American society is often a muddle of contradictions, and this is certainly true when it comes to families. On the one hand, we cherish the concept of the extended family and laud the ideal of multiple generation households. On the other we cherish our privacy and fiercely defend our independence. It is thus important for you, your relative or friend, and other family members to weigh the pro’s and con’s of living together. This is especially true if you are working or have other family responsibilities. You will need to consider these before you enter into an arrangement that may or may not be the best option for you and your care receiver.

Pro’s and Con’s

It is probably best for everyone involved to discuss what you imagine the pro’s and con’s of living together to be. Every family’s situation is unique. Listed below are some of the benefits and drawbacks that may result. It is important for your relative or friend to take part in the decision, and to be a valued and contributing member of the family with meaningful roles, whenever possible.

On the plus side:

1. If your care receiver needs considerable care, you will save the expense of a long-term care facility or, at least, some in-home services.
2. You know that your care receiver is getting the best possible care because you are either providing it yourself or directly overseeing the care.
3. You will be able to make major decisions that can give you a sense of empowerment.
4. You will have more time to spend with your family member or friend.
5. Your children will have an opportunity to spend more time with their grandparent(s) or other older relative, have an important lesson in compassion and responsibility, learn about their roots, and develop a sense of family continuity.
6. If your care receiver is fairly healthy, he or she may help with household tasks, and/or with the children.

On the other side:

  1. You may have less time for yourself and/or other family members and if you work you may find conflicts between your job and caregiving responsibilities. Some employment versus care giving responsibility may be relieved, especially in light of the technology revolution that is taking place, where telecommuting may now be an option.
  2. Depending on your lifelong relationship, you may find that you and/or your relative resent changes in your relationship that may take place.
  3. You will lose at least some of your privacy.
  4. Other family members may resent the new arrangement.
  5. There may be less space for everyone in the family.
  6. You may find that hands-on caregiving is too physically and/or emotionally demanding.

If you decide that you do want to live together, you might want to try it on a trial basis, if possible. You might consider renting or subletting your care receiver’s home on a short-term basis so that he or she has the option of returning home if the new arrangement does not work out to everyone’s satisfaction.

You will want to consider what, if any, physical changes need to be made to your residence and how much they will cost.

Will Intergenerational Living Work in Your Home?

As a guide, you may want to ask the following questions:

  1. Is your home large enough so that everyone can have privacy when they want it?
  2. Is there a separate bedroom and bath for your family member, or can you create an accessory apartment?
  3. Are these rooms on the first floor? If not, can your relative climb stairs safely?
  4. Can you add to or remodel your home to provide a first-floor bedroom and bath?
  5. Do you need to add safety features such as ramps and better lighting?
  6. Does the bathroom have a shower, is it large enough to accommodate a wheelchair, if needed, and can safety features, such as grab bars, be installed to prevent falls?
  7. Are door openings wide enough for a wheel chair?

You also may want to set some ground rules for privacy.

Sharing Time Together

Obviously, if you want your care receiver to live with you, you will want to share times together.

  • Set aside times to talk.
  • Involve your care receiver, if possible, in family outings and social events.
  • Invite other family and friends to your home, and let them know that you are available to come to their house as well. Not all of them will respond, but some will.
  • Even errands, such as shopping, can be something of a social event, and give your relative a chance to participate in decision-making.

At the same time, you want to ensure that other family members do not feel that they have been “displaced” and that they are as important to you as ever.

Provided by: The Staff at
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