How often are assisted living communities surveyed by the state?

  1. Molly Dworken 10/16/2012 05:33PM

    Assisted living communities are licensed by the state in which they are located. Although there are federal regulations governing how senior living facilities are operated, each state implements its own licensing guidelines. After being licensed, an assisted living community must be surveyed by the state to ensure it is continuing to meet the requirements of licensing and operation. Surveys check the physical operation of the community and the quality of services to residents.

    Surveys, which are conducted annually in most states, are under the supervision of the state's Department of Health or Health and Human Services. The surveyors are primarily licensed or certified healthcare providers such as registered nurses. To meet licensing compliance, assisted living communities are surveyed on several service and levels of care criteria, including medication management, staffing levels and resident admission evaluations. Surveys take place over a period of several days and are unannounced.

    Assisted living communities are awarded points or letter grades by surveyors. A less than passing grade is usually an indication there are administrative errors and/or serious harm or death to or of a resident has occurred. Those facilities not passing a survey have a time period to correct problems and then are re-surveyed for compliance.

    Because the states post the results of the surveys on their state government websites and copies of the report are also available to the public, residents and family members can be reassured their choice of assisted living community is a safe and well-run facility.