The Assisted Living Golden Ratio: How Many Residents Can One Caregiver Serve?

Geriatric nurse helping senior citizen woman with walkerAssisted living staff members are the front line in caring for your loved one, and their skills, attitude, and abilities have real impact on his or her health and quality of life. But how do you know if a facility has enough caregivers (or not enough) to properly aid their residents?

First, it’s important to understand that no assisted living facility will offer one-to-one care. In practical terms, every resident will have to wait some period of time for assistance.

Second, a good rule of thumb to know is that most facilities have one staff member for every six to eight residents. The ratio will be higher during the nighttime hours, with often one staff member caring for fifteen residents. If the facility you are considering has a higher ratio (say, 10 or 12 residents per caregiver during the day), you will want to understand how that workload is managed by staff.

Third, if the facility won’t give you an average number of residents a single staff member cares for, ask what the average response time is to a request for assistance. A typical reasonable timeframe during the day is ten minutes, but that time will likely be longer at night. If that average response time is longer, that facility may not have enough workers to provide the care your loved one needs.

Find out more about how to make the right decisions for your loved one, check out HealthSpin’s Easy Healthcare: Choosing an Assisted Living Facility.

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