New Senior Living Quality Standards Focus on 12 Areas

In an industry well-known for fragmented markets with patchwork regulations and standards, one senior housing association is finally seeing its standardization goals come to fruition.

National senior living provider association Argentum—formerly known as the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA)—has launched its first phase of industry standards.

“The creation of these standards [has] encouraged a robust discussion among our members about how to measure and promote quality in senior living,” Pat Mulloy, Argentum Standards Committee chairman and chairman & CEO of Elmcroft Senior Living, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to continuing the dialogue, and plan to work with the senior living industry, residents and regulators to further develop standards as we continue to raise the bar for quality.”

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The association has been working on creating industry standards for some time, with leaders weighing in on needed reforms and key quality metrics during a Chief Executive Summit last December.

“The approval by Argentum’s board for these foundational standards is an acknowledgement that professional managed senior living communities should be accountable for improving the health and quality of life of their residents,” James Balda, Argentum president and CEO, said in a statement. “Standards compliance is a meaningful symbol that a senior living community meets demanding quality expectations.”

The pressing need for standards stems from a lack of consistency that dampens credibility with the consumer, Balda told Senior Housing News late last year. State regulations dictate the senior living industry, but the new standards do not seek to replace those laws and regulations. Argentum aims to complement those frameworks for the governing of senior living communities as the association rolls out its next phases over several years.

The first stage of Argentum’s initiative opened this week, and asks that senior living providers “self-attest” their compliance as applicable to independent, assisted and memory care communities. Companies are tasked with reviewing the new standards and completing Argentum’s 2016 Attestation Form that relies on communities to confirm that they are in compliance with 100% of the standards. Argentum will issue certificates of recognition for each compliant community that can be displayed and used for promotional materials. The certificates will specify the standards are based on a self attesting compliance process.

The first wave is outlined by a set of 12 standards that address key quality issues in the following areas:

1. Consumer disclosure

2. Residents rights

3. Resident-centered care

4. Infrastructure

5. Staff Training

6. Programming

7. Medication delivery

8. Quality improvement

9. Dining.

10. Regulatory compliance and enforcement

11. Workforce

12. Memory care

Written by Amy Baxter

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