The need to improve the quality of service and reduce its cost for the underserved population is obvious and is related to the need to take care of people who do not have access to services in the same volume as the rest. Underserved population refers to barriers to accessing and using services and includes people underserved due to geographic location, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, and special needs. People in these categories have difficulty getting the services they need. The assisted living care service in the United States has existed for several decades; it appeared and developed, responding to the needs of the elderly (Zimmerman et al., 2022). In the case of assisted living, the underserved population is the elderly, especially those with mental and physical health problems.
People Most Affected by the Problem
The problem of high prices for assisted living and the inaccessibility of this assistance mainly affects the elderly population. In addition, this problem affects families who decide to turn to assisted living in residence. The price is affected by the chosen assisted living residence, its location and the amount of necessary medical services. According to SeniorLiving.org, the average cost of living in an assisted living residence in 2020 was $4,300 per month, or $51,600 per year (Hoyt, 2022, p.1, par.1). This figure is close to the average income of an adult American and can be burdensome for the family budget.
The Decision-Maker in the Problem Issue
Pricing policy and quality of service depending on the chosen organization. In part, assisted living residence management sets prices and reduces the availability of this type of care for many Americans. However, the problem is more global: price formation is influenced by the prices of expensive medicines for quality medical care, equipment, and wages for qualified specialists. The problem of high prices can be solved by reducing the cost of medical care, but in this case, the quality of care for the elderly will also decrease. It is important to prevent this situation; self-management of this problem by assisted living residences is unlikely to lead to success. Despite many charitable organizations, assisted living residences will not operate at a loss. Therefore, the policy of change should come from government initiatives; it is possible to organize assistance to such institutions, with the help of which assisted living residences can reduce the prices of their services.
The Best Approach to Address the Problem to the Stakeholders
The main message to address to stakeholders should be the importance of change in the care of older people. First, assistance to families accessing assisted living residences services is needed because most American families cannot allocate such a significant portion of their budget. Secondly, the state should be interested in providing Americans with a decent old age according to moral and ethical principles (Yee-Melichar et al., 2021). It is best to approach the local state government directly with a proposal for a step-by-step improvement plan and evidence of its future effectiveness and benefits to the American community.
Support from the Employer to Implement Change
The introduction of the initiative requires the employer’s support at all stages of implementation. Improving the quality of care for the elderly requires monitoring compliance by employees, which the employer should monitor. Moreover, staff retraining may be required to meet standards of care. The employer must be aware of the moral and ethical benefits of implementing the initiative and strive to provide affordable care in assisted living residences for all citizens who need it.
The Suggested Plan
Government support will be required to implement the initiative to reduce the cost of staying in assisted living residences and improve care. The state should fund support for private assisted living residences. In addition, there is a need for a single standard that assisted living residences must comply with to exclude the possibility of private firms profiting from the elderly. In addition, the state can launch a program aimed at the socialization of the elderly directly in assisted living residences. The program can represent the organization of masterclasses and creative and cultural events, together with assisted living residents. Participation in interpersonal activities positively affects assisted living residents (Plys, 2019). Such an initiative will ensure inclusiveness and help the elderly adapt socially to unusual conditions.
Part of the funds to reduce the cost of services can be obtained from private investors. To do this, it is necessary to draw attention to the problem of assisted living residences. To attract the attention of investors, charity fairs can be organized, which will present goods made by the hands of the elderly at creative masterclasses. This initiative will raise additional funds to improve living conditions in assisted living residences and attract investors.
Organization of the Foundation
The organization of a charitable foundation to raise funds for the needs of assisted living residences can also be a means of reducing the cost of services and improving their quality. The charitable foundation will need a massive publicity campaign to draw public attention to this issue. It is also necessary to attract media people to advertise the fund and establish its functioning by creating a separate group of specialists dealing with the problems of the fund and attracting new patrons.
Organization of a Garden
A good initiative could be to organize a garden next to the assisted living residence. First, walking outdoors in a pleasant atmosphere will improve patients’ physical health. Secondly, the elderly can participate in its organization, helping grow easy-to-care flowers or fruit crops. Taking care of the plant will play a positive psychological effect. Grown fruit crops can be sold during charity events and add to the residence’s budget.
Communication with Animals
This initiative offers the organization of leisure activities for older people with animals from shelters. First, it is beneficial for the psychological health of the elderly. They realize the need to care for a living being, and the animals from the shelter will get a chance to find a family. Moreover, the involvement of shelters will help attract new investors, which can significantly increase funding. Cooperation with the animal shelter will also increase the reputation of the organization.
Retraining of Employees
When the necessary funds for implementing the initiative are received, it is worthwhile to improve the quality of the services provided. First, large-scale work with the assisted living residence staff will be required. It is necessary to conduct certification of employees not only to understand their profession but also to understand the moral and ethical standards when working with older people. It may be necessary to attract new specialists to improve the quality of services. Retraining of employees should become a regular practice, as new technologies in the medical field appear regularly. Training should be built continuously and use all modern technologies.
To provide a high level of care for the elderly, modern technical equipment for assisted living residences will be required. This is especially true for people with increased care needs: new, modern wheelchairs and special beds are required. In addition, it is necessary to ensure the availability of all necessary places: equipped with ramps and handrails. Modern medical equipment is needed to provide proper care. The organization also needs special equipment and materials for creativity to organize circles, events, and masterclasses.
Psychological Assisting the Elderly and Their Families
The decision to place a family member in an assisted living residence is difficult for both older adults and their families. It is necessary to provide psychological support and help an older adult to adapt to new, unusual conditions. Adaptation can be difficult, but the psychologist needs to clarify that such a decision is made for the person’s good. Psychological support also helps reduce aggression among residents with severe mental illness (Gimm et al., 2018). The family of an older adult will also need support; it is worth conveying to them that a person with special needs will be better off with the constant accompaniment of medical personnel, which is impossible at home.
Control over the Implemented Initiative
After implementing the initiative, it is necessary to monitor its implementation and understand the effectiveness of the measures. Some points may eventually show their ineffectiveness, and new methods will be required. To ensure control over the implementation of the initiative, it will be necessary to establish a special department that will deal with the program’s implementation and its supervision. Incompetent employees should be suspended at the time of certification failure, and employees’ training should be consistent with fulfilling all requirements. The initiative’s oversight agency should also be responsible for the post-assessment of employees to ensure that the high level of service is met. Efficiency can be assessed by questioning older people and their families. The compliance survey should be conducted several times: before the initiative’s implementation and during its implementation. The survey must be anonymous to receive honest answers. It may include the “what can be improved in the organization of care for the elderly” for families. The organization can clarify with the elderly themselves which special classes they would like to attend and what they like and dislike about innovations.
Thus, the problem with assisted living residences lies in the high cost of services inaccessible to part of the population and the insufficient level of care for the elderly. To improve this situation, an initiative is required to reduce the cost of services and improve their quality. First of all, to reduce the cost, it is necessary to request government funding, attract investors and organize a charitable foundation. To improve the quality of the services provided, it is necessary to certify and train employees, purchase new equipment and provide competent psychological support for the elderly and their families. Control over the introduced initiative is required; creating a group that controls the project at all stages is suitable. Evaluating the initiative’s effectiveness may include regular appraisals of staff and interviews with older people and their families.
Hoyt, J. (2022). How much does assisted living and home care cost in the US? SeniorLiving. Web.
Gimm, G., Chowdhury, S., & Castle, N. (2018). Resident aggression and abuse in assisted living. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 37(8), 947-964. Web.
Plys, E. (2019). Recreational activity in assisted living communities: A critical review and theoretical model. The Gerontologist, 59(3), 207-222. Web.
Yee-Melichar, D., Renwanz Boyle, A., Boyle, A. R, Flores, C. M., & Flores, C. (2021). Assisted living administration and management review: Practice questions for RC/AL administrator certification/licensure. Springer Publishing Company.
Zimmerman, S., Carder, P., Schwartz, L., Silbersack, J., Temkin-Greener, H., Thomas, K. S., Ward, K., Jenkens, R., Jensen, L., Johnson, A.C., Johnson, J., Johnson, T., Kaes, L., Katz, P., Klinger, J.H., Lieblich, C., Mace, B., O’Neil, K., Douglas, D. & Williams, K. B. (2022). The imperative to reimagine assisted living. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 23(2), 225-234. Web.