If you have a parent who is getting up there in age or is at a point in their life where they can't take care of themselves, there aren't many options. You could let them live with you and your family, which for some is more practical than others. Many choose to enter their family member into an assisted living facility.

What is the difference between an assisted living facility and a nursing home?

These assisted living facilities are for seniors who need day-to-day help but don't need as much as a nursing home would provide. They help them with dressing and grooming, bathing, providing meals, doing housekeeping, and laundry.

A nursing home provides 24-hour monitoring and medical care and even feeds the residents when necessary, more like an extended stay version of a hospital.

Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash
Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash

While both facilities care for seniors, they are regulated much differently. Nursing homes are overseen by the US Department of Health and Human Services, while each state regulates assisted living facilities. Those regulations vary drastically from place to place.

What are the staffing requirements of an assisted living facility in Idaho?

Idaho is one of 38 states with a staff-to-resident ratio requirement, but that requirement isn't reassuring. The laughable staffing requirements make Idaho the perfect place for a large company to buy multiple facilities, charge outrageous prices, and see massive profits at the expense of the well-being of our loved ones.

Here's why: Idaho requires that if an assisted living facility has 15 or fewer beds, they must have at least one staff person on site overnight. That staff person is allowed to be asleep, but if a facility has more than 15 beds, the required staff member must remain awake.

So, who is supposed to be on this staff? Well, there has to be an administrator who is in charge. That person must be there for however many hours it takes to "provide safe and adequate care." That could be four hours or less if that person thinks they are doing a great job. There needs to be a licensed nurse who can delegate their duties to staff they believe are adequately trained. There is no hourly minimum that this person needs to be on-site as long as their duties are delegated and they are reachable to answer questions.

Photo by FORMAT arw on Unsplash
Photo by FORMAT arw on Unsplash

Ultimately, as long as, at all times, there is someone there who can do CPR, the facility has fulfilled its obligation to the State. That means that there could be one person trying to oversee the care of 40 or more patients, leading to mistakes with medication and the inability to keep the facility clean properly.

How much does assisted living cost in Boise?

As a state, we need to do better. The care of our elderly need to be more than just a profit center. If you are looking for an assisted living facility for a loved one, make sure to ask a lot of questions. For an average of $4,180-$5,000 per month, you should get what you pay for.

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