Step 1: Assess your needs

To find the right care solution, you must first determine your care needs. Needs can include medical assistance; help with day-to-day tasks such as bathing, cooking, or driving; and increased social interaction. If you are a caregiver, you might consider additional help or respite care. Assessing your needs will help you determine which care option is right for you, your loved ones, family members, or others.

Sometimes unexpected circumstances, distance, or a lack of resources can escalate a situation to one of immediate need or crisis proportions. Finding crisis care options is made easier by following the steps below and remaining calm.

Step 2: Research care and service options

Ask family and friends to recommend caregivers or centers. Search on OHCA’s Find Care tool, and learn more about care options in our Types of Care page. Though there is plentiful information you can find, relying on ratings alone is not sufficient enough to make a decision.

Step 3: Evaluate options

Based on your research, choose about three centers to visit. Call each to schedule a tour. Communicate your timeline and care needs and ask to speak with an admissions director. The admissions director will tell you more about the center and availability. Only visit centers that you know have available accommodations. Prepare for your center visits with information in our Types of Care section.

Step 4: Make the transition

A decision to move or make changes to find quality long term care raises many questions. You or your loved one may ask, “Is help really needed?”,“Will it be easy to make friends?”, or “Can loved ones and friends still stay close to one another?”

The answer to these common questions is the same: “Yes!”

Everyone copes with change differently. It may take a few days to feel settled in, or a bit longer. The transition experience is different for everyone. The keys to success are preparation, a positive attitude, patience, and understanding as well as a strong support network.

Rest assured that staff in your long term care setting is experienced, ready and willing to assist with the process. Don’t be shy about asking questions or seeking assistance. It is every assisted living care residence’s goal that the move is a positive experience.

Making the Move

Begin planning your move soon after choosing a long term care community that’s right for you. Decide what furniture, clothes, and personal items you’ll bring and what you’ll store off-site, donate, or sell. You may find it helpful to visit your new residence before moving in. Ask the administrator or director what furniture, if any, the residence will provide.

Start packing well in advance of moving day. If you have a hard time making decisions about what to bring and what to leave, you’re not alone. Many residents struggle with this process. Try to remain positive and have loved ones and friends help you. Small prized possessions will go far in making your new home feel like home.

Working with Staff

Care comes down to people. The more you get to know care providers, the better you’ll feel about your care decision. On the day of admission, you will likely meet care providers, such as a charge nurse, certified nursing assistant, therapist, activities director, and social worker. During subsequent visits, reintroduce yourself to those caring for your loved one. Get to know the staff, the daily routine, and programs available. When you have questions or concerns, discuss them with the appropriate staff member right away.

Advice for New Residents

Here are some tips to make your move easier:

  • Read all assisted living care residence materials before you move in.
  • Try to meet with the facility director or administrator and staff before moving day.
  • Read the activity schedule and choose two or three programs to attend early on to meet neighbors and other residents.

Step 5: Ensuring quality care

There are many safeguards in place to ensure you or your loved one receives quality care. Care licensure requirements and regulations vary from state to state. Facility survey and inspection reports offer an objective, third-party review of care facilities. Review residents’ rights to learn more about what you or your loved one should expect from a long term care community.

Licensing Process and Standards

To be licensed, certain standards must be met and maintained. All facilities are inspected periodically and surveys are conducted. Learn more about the licensing and survey process at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Facility Survey and Inspection Reports

The Department of Human Services inspects every facility annually. The survey results are available at the facility. A staff representative can answer your questions and provide additional information about the survey process.

Residents’ Rights

The National Long Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center provides the following list of residents’ rights:

  • The right of citizenship. Residents of nursing homes, professionally called Skilled Nursing Care centers, do not lose any of their rights of citizenship, including the right to vote, to religious freedom, and to associate with whom they choose.
  • The right to dignity. Residents are honored guests and have the right to be so treated.
  • The right to privacy. Residents have the right to privacy whenever possible, including the right to privacy with their spouse, the right to have their medical and personal records treated in confidence, and the right to private, uncensored communication.
  • The right to personal property. Residents have the right to possess and use personal property and to manage their financial affairs.
  • The right to information. Residents have the right to information, including the regulations of the home and the costs for services rendered. They also have the right to participate in decisions about any treatment, including the right to refuse treatment.
  • The right of freedom. Residents have the right to be free from mental or physical abuse and from physical or chemical restraint unless ordered by their physician.
  • The right to care. Residents have the right to equal care, treatment, and services provided by the facility without discrimination.
  • The right of residence. Residents have the right to live at the home unless they violate publicized regulations. They may not be discharged without timely and proper notification to both the resident and the family or guardian.
  • The right of expression. Residents have the right to exercise their rights, including the right to file complaints and grievances without fear or reprisal.

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program

Oregon has an ombudsman program to advocate for improvements in the long term care system. The Administration on Aging (AoA) administers this program. Paid staff and volunteers offer information on residents’ rights, quality care facilities, and legislative and policy issues. Ombudsmen can help you or your loved one resolve complaints.