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Entrance/Exit Criteria for Assisted Living

Clint Maun, CSP

In today's Assisted Living facility, it's important to develop an appropriate niche of services for customers desired. It is necessary the organization develop a meaningful, written understanding of entrance and exit criteria for customers in the building. Assisted living facilities that do not develop tough entrance criteria end up with situations where a variety of individual types are placed in a melting pot environment with no product distinction for services. The facility ends up putting its census requirements or revenue requirements ahead of the ability to deliver services to the right population.

The entrance criteria sets up an understanding by the marketplace, referral sources, administration and co-workers of what type of business we deliver. It also clarifies that we have the ability to say “yes” to these types of individuals and are looking forward to the opportunity to serve them in our facility. It also sets up that we are able to say “no” to certain types of admissions because they are out of bounds to the type of facility we are successful at operating.

In addition, it's important the written exit criteria is measurable. Individuals who can no longer be provided for in an assisted living facility need to be transferred to a more appropriate setting. While it is possible that assisted living facilities can truly meet a variety of needs and concerns that were once handled in skilled facilities, it is also important to note that there are times where individuals cannot remain in an assisted living facility. The facility must communicate that to the marketplace, referral sources and families. We believe it's important to set this tone at the front end of a relationship rather than announcing a surprise move to families or customers when an individual can no longer remain. It's also important people understand that, when there is a need for a move or transfer, it is documented and clearly fits within the guidelines of the facility’s entrance and exit criteria.

Assisted living facilities today have opportunities to provide services that were before only available in  skilled nursing situations. Assisted living has the advantage of offering a diverse set of services which provides variety, choice and different pricing models. It is also important to note that the assisted living facility must be strong and purposeful in its communication to all individuals internally and externally regarding the type of business it is prepared to offer.