Policy in Senior Living: The Value of Standard in Senior Living


In your senior living search, you want to make sure the community you’re considering meets all state regulations—that’s a given. But the best communities go beyond the basic requirements to provide truly exceptional care.

At Benchmark communities, for example, the quality resident services (QRS) team conducts a quality review on every component of the community. This team is tasked with ensuring compliance with state regulations as well as Benchmark’s own internal standards. Communities often share their success stories with their families.

“We are looking for people to not only exceed state regulations, but our own practices too,” explains Beth Sampath, Benchmark's senior director of quality resident services. “We want to see people going above and beyond.”

This quality-assurance process enables each community to identify patterns and trends in order to bolster areas of strength and find solutions for areas of weakness.

Of course, quality begins with team members’ access to classroom, online, and hands-on training, as well as employee shadowing and mentoring. The best communities are committed to continued education and training for their staff, supporting and equipping them with the tools they need to provide the ideal environment for your loved one. And standards aren’t just about providing care but also about how our team makes the resident and his or her family feel.

Digging Deeper

If you want to see how a community measures up, look for the results of its most recent state survey. Many states require senior living communities to post their survey results online, but not all do. If you can’t find the most recent results, ask the community to review the report and results with you.

Sampath recommends talking with the executive director of the community to get a solid grasp of what you’re reading. In many cases, survey results require further explanation -- and without a professional interpretation, they could be misleading.

For example, you might be concerned if you see a note that says the community didn’t follow incident reporting practices. But, rather than being indicative of a significant problem, it could just be the result of the community filing one late incident report. Talk with the executive director to find out exactly what happened, how the concern was addressed, and what plans are in place to prevent future issues.

Though you may wish to see spotless survey results from a senior living community, that’s not always realistic. Instead, Sampath suggests focusing on how upfront and honest the community is with you about its results.

“Turnover happens; errors happen. We’re all human,” she says. “It’s how you address the problem and what you do to fix it that counts. People need to be comfortable sharing the truth.”

Be sure to ask these quality-control questions on your community tour:

How are staff background checks performed?

What types of training do team members receive?

What quality measures do you have in place?

What were the results of your most recent state survey and your internal quality surveys?

Stay tuned for more tips and insights at Open Conversations
Want to share a comment or ask question:  openconversations@benchmarkquality.com
Content for Open Conversations was developed in partnership with Caregiving Advice.

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