What is a Board and Care Facility?

26 March 2020 Assisted Living

If you are a senior looking for long-term care or if you have elderly loved ones that need attention, a board and care facility is a great option. These are unlike sprawling nursing homes or massive assisted-living communities. A board and care facility houses ten or fewer residents.

The structure can be a residential home that the owners have adapted to fit the needs of the senior residents. They can also be small scale facilities with a high ratio between the number of residents and the staff. This means that those who are living in these facilities get access to a more focused type of care.

Some people call board and care facilities, residential care homes, group homes, or adult care communities. These are common across the country since they provide quality care to their residents while giving them more freedom and independence. The significant difference is board and care homes do not offer nursing and medical care on-site.

What Services are Provided?

This facility gives 24-hour proper care. These are often within someone’s private home. As the name implies, they offer the elderly room and board. On top of that, they give care services and assistance.

The staff, however, are unskilled, which means they are not medical professionals. At best, they supply essential assistance like grooming, bathing, dressing, and the like. Some facilities may provide skilled care, but it varies per state.

Residents will receive 24/7 assistance, but the staff is not required to be up at all hours. It is also common for the manager to live with home residents. Look at the following services offered below:

Provide Housekeeping

The staff of the facility is responsible for the daily cleaning and maintenance of the common areas, the rooms, and the bathrooms. They provide supplies like toilet paper and soap. Some facilities include laundry services for linens and soiled clothing as well.

Organize Activities

In most board and care homes, the staff organizes fun activity programs to keep the residents entertained. Examples of these are bingo, crafts, movie nights, and special outings. Some facilities which are near senior centers and have access to community programs also encourage their residents to join them. These simple events are significant for recreation and socialization with others in the neighboring areas.

Help with Transportation

If you live in this kind of home, they will help get a ride to your doctor’s appointments. The facilities also offer transportation to their planned outside activities. A few board and care residences also go the extra mile to provide aid with simple errands like grocery shopping, filling prescribed medications in the pharmacy, and the like. All these additional services hinge on the residents health and mobility level.

Aid in Management of Medication

When facilities are allowed to dispense medicine, they are regulated. If this is a service you want, you must check with your state. Some enable staff to provide medication reminders. While others must receive training and certification to handle and administer medication. Facilities that dispense medication need to have storage facilities for the drugs, as well as managing protocols and documentation.

Provide Meals

When you are in your golden years, nutrition is a critical component of your daily life. An improper diet will exacerbate existing health issues, and it may precipitate new ones. If you no longer have the energy to shop for ingredients and cook, you can count on your board and care facility to step up. The state has set up specific senior nutritional requirements for facilities. They are required to post their daily and weekly menus.

If you are thinking of sealing a contract with a board and care facility, this is something that you should iron out before signing. People eat three meals a day, along with snacks, so it is vital to living a good life. Check if your chosen facility can accommodate cultural food preferences. Most importantly, find out if they can handle your personal dietary restrictions. You may need a diet that’s low-sodium, low-glycemic, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, nut-free, etc.

Do keep in mind that you have the freedom to eat out whenever you like, but your facility is not required to pay for those meals. You will also not receive a refund for meals you do not consume at home. If you have guests, they are welcome to share a meal with you, but they do require advance notice and may collect a certain fee.

Added Perk of Meal Supervision

Since the population in this kind of facility is small, the staff can supervise meals. They encourage those who have no appetite to eat. If there are any changes in patterns of behavior, they can readily address health concerns by calling the family so they can make arrangements to see a doctor and nutritionist.

Who Can Live in a Board and Care Home?

This kind of facility is perfect for people who are looking for an atmosphere with a relaxed, homey vibe. If you like to have a closer relationship with the one caring for you, then a board and care facility is a perfect choice.

You have more freedom to move around. Unlike nursing homes, they do not watch you like a hawk.  You can continue to foster your independence while having the assurance that someone is supporting you behind the scenes. Your days also have less structure.

In a recent study facilitated by the Center for Disease Control, they deemed these facilities to host younger seniors who are beginning their golden years. This is in contrast to communities with larger bed capacity. Results show that 16% of those in adult foster care communities were below 65. For the same age bracket in larger nursing homes, the figure is only 4%.

On top of that, seniors that suffer from cognitive issues like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and depression are also more comfortable in these bigger nursing homes. They need the supervision of medical professionals. These more extensive facilities also offer stricter guidelines to support and aid people with specific ailments.

Examining the Differences of Various Adult Care Communities

Although there are many board and care homes that do offer different types of services, these are vastly different from larger nursing homes, and other sprawling assisted living communities in many ways. Take a look at the simple chart below to see the differences.

Elements to Check Assisted Living Board and Care Nursing Home
Round-the-Clock Supervision and Attention X X X
Existence of Medical Staff in the Facility X X
Permit External Service Providers on Premises X X
Housekeeping, Laundry, and Meals X X X

Check Out the Significant Differences

One of the primary elements that set board and home care facilities apart is they offer a more natural vibe and homelike ambiance. Most are like ordinary single-family homes that they modified to meet state regulations and licensing protocols.

They also integrated these facilities into communities. If you happen to be passing through a neighborhood, you won’t immediately identify that this home is a senior residential facility with eight to ten residents and one to four staff members. With this ratio, the level of care is more personal and intimate.

Compared to an Assisted Living Community

The difference between the two facilities is that the more traditional assisted living community contains more beds in its premises. There are also more staff members, which include nurses, doctors, licensed nurse assistants, and maybe even physical therapists on site.

A large population of those living in a group board and care receive Medicaid, as opposed to those who are in assisted living communities. The residents in larger facilities that are often private pay with monthly packages. Assisted living is also a good option for seniors that are looking to ease social isolation with lots of residents and staff on board.

Compared to a Nursing Home

In a nursing home, healthcare is the number one concern. In this kind of set up, the residents have access to more hands-on medical care and personal attention, as opposed to residential board and care homes that provide freedom.

If you are considering a nursing home, note that you will be on a stricter schedule. There is a routine that you are required to follow daily. More skilled medical professionals and a more personalized medical delivery plan is in place when compared with the other facilities.

How Much Will You Pay in a Board and Care Home?

If you are looking for a more pocket-friendly option, board and care facilities are more affordable than an assisted living community or a nursing home. The reason they can cut down on the cost is they do not need to hire expensive medical teams, nor do they need to spend a lot on operating a large facility.

Private pay is the typical plan for board and care with the rates ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 per month depending on the care you need. You’d be thrilled to note that 19% of people in group board and care receive Medicaid assistance. So, if you have a limited budget, you can avail of this option. Most properties have at least one resident on Medicaid. If you are a veteran, do note that you can also avail of a few VA benefits to help you.

If you are considering these options, check your county because requirements frequently change. There are also long-term care insurance policies that you may have to cover your expenses. Look into all these options before you commit and sign our contract.

How Do You Evaluate a Prospective Board and Care Facility?

You must do your due diligence before finalizing a contract. For best results, check photos, look at floor plans, compare prices, and go on a tour to get the much-needed information. Research is the key to finding the best one.

Tour Several Homes

Visit several places, so you can see for yourself what they offer. This will also help give you a feel or vibe of the site. Speak with the residents and staff. You must be comfortable with the people there.

Inquire About the Specifics

Inquire what a typical day is like. Ask about the activities offered in and out of the facility. It is also important to note if they will provide you with transportation. Check to see if there are quiet areas, especially if you like privacy. The residence must fit your personality for you to enjoy living there.

Inspect the Ratio

Check the ratio of staff members and residents. Try to go at different times of the day so you can see the day, evening, and night shift workers. Ask them about staff turnover and how quickly it happens. It is also essential to check what training and certifications the team members have.

Check Skills of the Staff

Ask how the staff members care for those who have incontinence. You want to know how often they bathe them. Personal hygiene is vital. Moreover, you must ask how they handle those with cognitive problems. You want to ascertain that they protect your elderly loved one in case he or she inadvertently wanders away.

Figure Out If the Home is Part of a Bigger Company

Additionally, it is crucial to find out if the property is part of a bigger company that has several other board and care facilities. Sometimes, a big company provides added services. For instance, apart from offering on-site staff, they may have a visiting nurse that comes over on rotation. They may also have more events and activities, and they could encourage mingling among the residents of their various houses.

See All Permits and Licenses

Most of all, ask to see their most updated inspection report. Check if there are any complaints filed against the facility within the past two years. These reports are available to the public. Only go with a licensed facility that has a good track record.

Final Word

If you are in the twilight of your years, a board and care facility is an excellent alternative to a bigger nursing home. Moreover, if you are looking for a care facility for your loved one, this smaller residential group home is the right choice if you want a homey feel. A lot of people don’t like the hospital-feel and cold vibe of larger facilities. The most crucial thing to do is your research so you can find the best facility that is fit for yourself or your loved ones.