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Doing Your Homework Before Entering an Assisted Living Facility in Jacksonville

Jacksonville has nearly one hundred assisted living facilities (“ALFs”). ALFs are a step between independent living and a nursing home. ALFs provide housing, food and personal services; however, they do not provide medical care. In limited circumstance, an ALF may provide some nursing care and assistance with medications. They allow for greater privacy, and are usually much less expensive, than a nursing home.

ALFs are licensed and inspected by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. Because they do not provide nursing or medical care, ALFs are not as tightly regulated as nursing homes. Unlike nursing homes, the State of Florida does not maintain a rating for assisted living facilities. This can make picking out an ALF a daunting task.

Floridahealthfinder.gov has a list of all licensed ALFs in the state broken down by region and county. Each ALF on the list has links to provide the types of licenses the ALF has, the number of beds, the name of the administrator and inspection results.

Fees for ALFs vary greatly depending mostly on the degree of services being provided. Generally speaking, Medicare or Medicaid will not pay ALF fees.

Other factors to consider when selecting an ALF include: whether the resident will have his or her own room; whether the resident will have to share a bathroom with one or more other residents; whether the resident has kitchen facilities in his or her room; and whether pets are allowed.

Of course, there are alternatives to assisted living facilities including adult day care centers and adult family care homes. Adult day care centers are a day time supplement for persons living at home. They provide opportunities for social activities, counseling, limited training for activities of daily living, and meals.

Adult family care homes provide a home environment for up to five adults who are not related to the owner of the home with the owner of the home residing there as well. These homes provide housing, meals and assistance with health care arrangements, transportation and medication administration.

If the decision has been made to move into an assisted living facility, we recommend the following actions be taken: find ten or more that are in a convenient area for family members to visit (remember that family members are the very best people to notice if an elderly person is experiencing unsatisfactory care or changes that require medical attention – the more convenient it is for family members to visit, the more often they are likely to visit); go to Floridahealthfinder.gov to learn more about the size of the facilities, whether they have special licenses necessary for your situation (for example, a limited mental health care license may be appropriate for a resident showing early signs of dementia) and view inspection reports; visit the facilities; determine cleanliness; evaluate the general condition of the other residents; consider the activities and services provided; and determine the exact room that is available. Meeting with the administrator and staff is also a must. If other resident’s family members are present during your visit, ask them if they are pleased with the facility.

If you want to take a further step you can research the Duval County Clerk of the Court website to see if any lawsuits have been filed against the ALF. Our law firm has handled injury, death and abuse claims against nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Jacksonville and we would be happy to provide our input free of charge.