CONSUMER GUIDE:

SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITIES

NAOSA Gold Standards of Professional Practice™​

Senior Living Communities

Senior living has so many options that it can be very confusing to the consumer. Most individuals are unaware of all the options and rely in large part on the professionals representing the community itself.

By and large, NAOSA has found most community sales and marketing professionals to be honest and do try their best to represent the community in a fair manner. The majority of community representatives are mission driven, enjoy what they do and believe in the community they represent. However, with sales quotas and occupancy pressures, the emphasis may, at times, be more on gaining a new resident as opposed to providing accurate information.

NAOSA’s research into senior living communities focused on honesty of communication, accurate price quotes, quality of living and care, and the degree as to which residents have an active voice at the community. NAOSA established Gold Standards of Professional Practice™ to address these areas of importance. The NAOSA Gold Standards of Professional Practice™ are not a replacement of state and federal requirements already in place, they should be used as an additional resource.

NAOSA Gold Standards of Professional Practice™:

1: Be Truthful in All Communications: All communications, both verbal and written, will be 100% accurate.

2:  Achieve an Overall Resident Satisfaction Rating of 80% or Higher:  Quality communities should strive to measure resident satisfaction on a consistent basis; one method of doing so is through an annual or bi-annual resident survey.  Surveys inquire about overall quality, satisfaction with meals, activities, quality of staff and many other aspects of living in the community.

3: Active Resident Council:  Residents should have a voice in the community and an active resident council is a good way to ensure your voice is heard.  Be sure to ask if one exists at a community before deciding.

4: Perform an In Person Resident Orientation Upon Move-in:  In person orientation meetings are key to ensure that new residents feel welcome and are comfortable with their new home. 

5: Provide Full Disclosure of All Anticipated Monthly Costs for Care and Assistance: Almost all retirement communities charge a monthly fee. With this monthly fee, residents receive a standard level of services.  These standards vary, but, are fairly consistent within the same type of community (55+, Life Plan Community, etc.)

At times, full cost is either not disclosed or is not clearly communicated to prospective residents. This is especially true in either an assisted living or skilled nursing setting. Assisted living and skilled nursing communities generally have a base monthly fee, and then an additional fee based on level of assistance required and potential a la carte service fees, such as medication management and assistance with higher levels of activities of daily living.

The majority of individuals residing in an assisted living and skilled nursing community will require services over and above the base monthly fee. In order to receive an accurate estimate of the monthly living costs, it is critical that a thorough needs assessment is performed. As part of this assessment, the client and/or family must be an active part of this process, providing exact detail of service expectations, current medications, and other needs. This assessment will help to establish a realistic cost of living in the community. 

All NAOSA member communities are required to perform a thorough needs assessment and disclose in writing the full anticipated monthly fee. This quote will include the base price, charges for additional assistance as well as any anticipated a la carte services.

6: Skilled Nursing Facilities (Nursing Homes) Will Maintain an Average Overall Medicare Rating of Four Stars Over a Five Year Period. The Medicare star rating system, Nursing Home Compare, features a star rating system that gives each facility a rating between one (1) and five (5) stars. The nursing home star ratings are derived from data regarding health and safety risks, staffing ratios, and quality of resident care measures. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) calculates a star rating for each of these three sources, along with an overall rating. An overall rating of three (3) stars is considered average, while a rating of four (4) and five (5) stars is considered “above average” and “much above average” respectively.

Why is This Information Important?
Per the CMS website “Nursing homes vary in the quality of care and services they provide to their residents. Health inspection results, staffing data, and quality of resident care information are three important ways to measure the quality of nursing homes. This information, combined in the star rating, gives you a “snapshot” of the quality of each nursing home.”

The Medicare star rating system can give you important information and should be used in conjunction with a personal visit to a nursing home. Star ratings, personal visits, the NAOSA Gold Standards of Professional Practice and additional guides provided by Medicare and your state should be utilized to determine whether the community fits you or your family members’ needs.

Questions or comments? Please contact us and we will be happy to respond.