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Assisted Living Inspections: What Facility Managers Need to Know

Facility managers of assisted living communities understand that their buildings must be held to high standards in order to meet the health, safety and security requirements of residents. As such, assisted living facilities must undergo regular inspections to ensure compliance with state-mandated regulations. Failure to prepare for inspections can result in penalties from governing agencies, which is why it’s important to think ahead and prepare for when inspections do occur. This week, we explain what to expect from the inspections process and how to best prepare your facility for success.

Why are assisted living facilities inspected?

In the United States, assisted living and other residential care facilities must be licensed and inspected by a state agency that oversees the regulation of long-term care facilities. This could include the state’s Department of Health, Department of Social Services or a combination of the two. In addition, assisted living facilities that accept Medicaid are required by federal law to submit to annual inspections and certifications. Facilities found in violation may be subject to penalties such as fines, resident transfers, new temporary management or even certification revocation.

How often are assisted living facilities inspected?

In most states, the department in charge of issuing licenses will also perform inspections. Assisted living facilities are typically inspected on an annual or semiannual basis, or at specified times between one and two years. An assisted living residence also will be inspected if a resident, family member or concerned party submits a complaint.

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What is involved in the survey process?

Surveys are performed by a team of trained inspectors, including at least one registered nurse. In addition to looking at resident care processes and staff-to-resident interactions, the team will also inspect the safety and security of care environments, safety of food preparation areas and whether or not the facility meets fire codes.

Good inspectors will point out all the areas of your facility that need improvement. The main goal of an inspection is to make buildings safer and more accessible to all occupants within them.  With proper preventative maintenance and code compliance, there’s no need to fear inspections. Inspections should be viewed as an opportunity to grow and learn.

What are some tips for acing an assisted living facility inspection?

Inspection preparation doesn’t need to be stressful. The key to success is thinking ahead and taking proactive steps towards compliance. Preparation will relieve your team’s stress and ensure that your facility is ready for when inspections roll around. Here are three tips to get you on the right path.

  • Tip #1: Take steps to mitigate risk in your facility. Every assisted living facility should have certain features which contribute to compliance with safety and security codes. For example, ensure that handrails are firmly secured to walls and free of splinters, sharp edges, rust or loose nails. In addition, make sure that facility doors meet requirements for thickness, material and fire rating. To learn more about items your inspector will examine, contact your state’s licensing agency for help.
  • Tip #2: Have asset repair histories on-hand and organized. Have everything written and organized for surveyors to review. Or better yet, use a facility management software to organize and automatically aggregate completed work orders to give inspectors an audit trail. You’ll feel more organized leading up to the survey, especially since surveyors will likely ask for very specific repair information. Having it consolidated and easily accessible will take a significant amount of stress off of your shoulders.
  • Tip #3: Download an inspection preparation checklist. Don’t wait. Get ahead and start preparing for your next building inspection today. A great place to start is by downloading AkitaBox’s Facility Management Software and Inspections Checklist. You’ll learn what to look out for when doing a walk-through of your facility.

Learn More about Assisted Living Facility Management

Inspections are a necessary and much-anticipated part of a facility manager’s job. To learn more about inspection best practices and code-compliance in assisted living facilities, download AkitaBox’s 2019 Guide to Assisted Living Maintenance and Management. In this resource, we’ve included a variety of vital statistics, current trends and a crucial three-step methodology to help facility managers care for and maintain their buildings more efficiently. Learn more about the ebook and its contents here.

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