Why Hire a Personal Caregiver in a Nursing Home or ALF?

caregiver with man at nursing home

If your aging parent moves to a nursing home or assisted living facility, you’re probably assuming they will receive all the care they need from the on-site staff. Why would anyone hire a personal caregiver when they live in a nursing home or assisted living? We’ll share a family testimonial and some important facts to help give perspective on the value of having your own personal companion when moving to/residing in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

We recently received a thank you letter applauding the efforts of a client’s caregiver, Barbara, who has been with the client since she moved from rehabilitation at a nursing home to assisted living in 2013. The family indicated that the client doesn’t know what she would do without the caregiver, and neither do they. So, just what kind of things is the caregiver doing for the client to make her life in assisted living so much better?

The Not So Little Things

As the letter states, she “takes particular care to make sure that (the client) is dressed nicely and her clothes are in good condition” which is so important to this client who has always cared about “looking presentable”. Just imagine how much it would mean to you (or your aging parent) to know that someone understands what is important to you and takes the time to watch over the little things.

The Personal Touch: Peace of Mind

Another important role for a hired caregiver in a nursing home or assisted living is to personalize the care and provide more support to the client. Many care facilities do an excellent job, but the individual attention is by nature limited (see below for more data).

For example, this family shared that the caregiver is “meticulously observant” about the client’s health and reports subtle changes. In our years providing caregiver and care management services, this consistently proves to be one of our most valuable services. Our advocates’ “eyes and ears” have prevented many emergencies.

Quality of Life: Staying Engaged

“She is creative in keeping (the client) active and engaged with things (she) enjoys,” the family remarks. This includes taking her to church and the hairdresser, providing reading material and recordings of her church’s services, as well as helping her call her family, and view their messages and pictures using her phone and iPad. She’s also been able to get the client engaged in assisted living activities and feel integrated into her new home.

A personal caregiver can enhance the health and safety of your loved one when in a care facility, increase quality of life and become a valuable resource to your family.

Florida Nursing Home Staffing Requirements

Florida regulations (FS 400.23) for nursing homes dictate minimum staffing standards. The minimum weekly average of nursing staffing (certified nursing assistant and licensed nursing staffing combined) is 3.6 hours of direct care per resident per day. This is a weekly average; many facilities have less staffing on weekends. To further break this down, the minimum certified nursing assistant staffing is 2.5 hours of direct care per resident per day. CNAs provide the majority of direct care, so this gives you a good picture of the time staff can spend helping a client get bathed, dressed, go to the toilet, eat, get to activities, etc. Again, this is an average and some residents requiring higher levels of care probably get more time and attention while others get significantly less. A facility may not staff less than one certified nursing assistant per 20 residents

Florida Assisted Living Facility Staff Requirements

Assisted living regulations tend to be less stringent (and vary widely by state and type of assisted living). The ratios, however, are inevitably lower as ALF residents are considered to need a lower level of care. In reality, assisted living facilities are accepting residents that once would have moved to a nursing home.
Here are the Florida ALF staffing requirements (Chapter 429, Part I, F.S. and Rule 58A-5, F.A.C.):
  • In facilities with 17+ residents, there must be 1 staff member awake at all times. (Meaning, smaller facilities don’t even need to have one person awake at all hours!)
  • At least one staff member must be present who has access to resident records in case of emergency (cannot be a resident serving in this capacity). If the administrator or manager is absent, he/she can designate in writing a staff member (18 years old+) to be in charge.
  • Staff hours requirements (# of residents/staff hours per week):
    0 – 5 168
    6 – 15 212
    16 – 25 253
    26 – 35 294
    36 – 45 335
    46 – 55 375
    56 – 65 416
    66 – 75 457
    76 – 85 498
    86 – 95* 539

    *For every 20 residents over 95 add 42 staff hours per week.

Find out more about hiring a personal caregiver for your loved one in a nursing home or assisted living (or ask about our ALF selection/moving services) by calling 727-447-5845 or:

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