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Why Staff Ratios Matter for Assisted Living Communities


Many different qualitative factors may feed your decision on the assisted living communities to choose. The type of room or form of care is just one of these factors.

Luckily, there are some defined, quantitative measures that you can consider when choosing a facility for yourself or a loved one. One such quantitative measure is the staff-to-patient ratio. While it may be ideal to have one or more members of the staff per resident, this number is unrealistic. Instead, look for facilities that are close to this ratio.

There are many reasons why the staff to resident ratio is essential for an assisted living facility’s operation. In fact, there are an increasing amount of federal and state regulations on this ratio. Read on to find out more information on these rations and to determine which ratio is right for you or your loved one.

1. The Type of Care Provided

One of the most critical aspects of having a good staff to the resident ratio at assisted living communities is that each patient should receive his or her own specialized care. While the numbers can’t perfectly indicate that a member of the staff will be perfect to fit your needs, the odds are much higher.

For example, if you or a loved one enters the facility with diabetes, it is important that there are members of the staff ready to help if any complications arise. With a worse staff to resident ratios, the odds that someone on the premises knows what to do in an emergency situation is significantly lower.

There truly is no perfect way to determine the ability of a facility to meet the needs of a resident just based on the ratio. But, a better ratio will ensure a higher chance that special care will be taken care of and that a resident will always have someone accountable on site.

2. All About Timing

Ultimately, the importance of staff to resident ratios usually come down to one factor: timing. Once you understand the ratio a certain community is offering, you will have a better sense of the presence of the staff in times of crisis or need for you or your loved ones.

If there is a good enough staff to the resident ratio at your assisted living community, any urgent personal medical needs will be responded to within 10 minutes. In the best communities, this time frame within 5 minutes. This can prove to be crucial in many assisted living communities, as the medical needs are when the staff is especially vital.

You should also be sure to research the changes in the ratio between the day and night. While the ratio of staff will always be better during the day, a good community will have the necessary accommodations for patients in need of regular nighttime assistance.

Timing can also be key in emergency situations. There is no telling when a fire or flash flood may cause potential harm to an assisted living community. Having a good amount of staff, though, can ensure that large-scale emergencies are responded to and handled well.

3. Cost Matters, Too

While staff to resident ratios are indicative of the quality of care and the attentiveness provided in assisted living communities, these ratios can also have a major impact on the cost of living in these communities. Usually, having a better ratio will be much more expensive. This is due to the wages the staff needs to be paid.

When trying to determine what staff to patient ratio is right for your needs, you may want to consider that these ratios can drive costs. An ideal ratio may not fit your budget’s constraints. Unfortunately, that often means that sacrifices will need to be made either care wise or budget wise.

Another important factor to consider is that many communities will only list their daytime ratios on their information brochures. It is not uncommon for communities to boast a great daytime ratio, only for their nighttime ratio to be absolutely abysmal.

Make sure that before picking a community, you visit the community to get a feel for how this ratio operates. You should also try to visit at different times of the day. This will help you determine whether or not the daytime and nighttime ratios are extremely different and will still both fit your needs.

4. Type of Staff

Within the staff to resident ratio is another important ratio to pay attention to the staff to nurse ratio. There need to be a certain amount of nurses working with the staff to ensure a successful community. These nurses typically provide any and all medical needs for the resident living in the community.

If the staff does not include enough nurses present within their ranks, residents may find that their health needs are not met effectively. Even communities that do not specialize in medical conditions, but rather, mental conditions, still need to be prepared to respond to any resident’s medical crisis or needs.

Many different types of staff are present in assisted living communities. There are chefs, cleaning crews, basic care staff, administrative staff, and nurses. Unfortunately, only nurses are truly equipped with the knowledge and experience of how to deal with massive medical emergencies. Thus, they should be the member of the staff that most residents take note of.

Are You Looking for the Best Assisted Living Communities?

If you’re looking for the very best in assisted living communities, the staff to patient ratio is a very important factor to pay attention to. A better ratio will ensure better, more timely care. It will also give residents a better sense of calm throughout their stay.

If you want to learn more about our assisted living community that specializes in memory impairments and other needs, then be sure to contact us. We provide residents state-of-the-art communities with relaxed and efficient care, as well as great staff to patient ratio.