Why Staff-to-Resident Ratio Matters In Senior Living

Residential assisted living staff are truly what makes a community. A good team of caregivers will be highly trained, experienced, and committed to enriching the lives of residents each day. As a family caregiver, you want to feel assured that your loved one is having their needs met consistently and compassionately. Smaller residential assisted living communities and homes tend to have higher staff-to-resident ratios, which can benefit residents significantly.

What Is Staff-to-Resident Ratio In Assisted Living?

Staff-to-resident ratio or caregiver-to-resident ratio refers to the number of staff members per resident in a senior living facility. Staff to resident ratio can provide an initial picture of the care and time a community can practically give its residents. When asking about staff to resident ratio, always ask which staff members are included in this figure; some communities have non-caregiving team members, which only sometimes provides an accurate picture of staffing.

Why Is Staff-to-Resident Ratio Important In Senior Care?

Seniors who move to an assisted living community typically require a medium to high level of care that may include support with activities of daily living (ADLs) and personal care tasks like bathing, eating, dressing, and transferring in and out bed. Accepting caregiver support with these tasks can be daunting for seniors, especially those who have become used to their independence. A high staff-to-resident ratio allows caregivers to comfortably spend the time each resident needs, providing the dignified care they deserve.

What Are The Benefits Of A High Senior Living Staff-to-Resident Ratio?

An assisted living facility must have enough caregivers to meet the needs of every resident properly. With a high staff-to-resident ratio, caregivers can give each resident the time and care they deserve. Free from excessive time pressure, caregivers can spend quality time with each resident, learning their unique preferences and needs to deliver a highly tailored care plan with just the proper support.

This extra time can greatly improve the mental and physical wellbeing of residents, allowing caregivers to help seniors complete activities of daily living (ADLs) as independently as possible. This independence can give seniors a great sense of accomplishment and valuable feelings of autonomy and control. Where fewer staff members have to provide care for many residents, caregivers may complete tasks for seniors to save time. More staff can also greatly increase response time, allowing caregivers to respond to call buttons and emergencies swiftly and improve resident safety and comfort.

The additional time afforded by a high staff-to-resident ratio can improve care in more ways than one. For example, a well-staffed community is an excellent sign that their employers value and support caregivers. In turn, supported staff members can better provide the best care possible for residents. In communities where staff-to-resident ratios are stretched, staff morale can suffer; in many cases, caregivers desperately want to go above and beyond for residents but need more time.

An excellent staff-to-resident ratio may also improve community and togetherness in a residential assisted living home. Caregivers will likely have more time to socialize and build strong friendships with residents. They can coordinate more activities and events for residents to enjoy. With fewer pressures, caregivers can focus on the experience of their residents rather than fighting to meet their basic needs. When staff members spend valuable time with residents, seniors can genuinely feel like part of a family.

Essential Questions To Ask About Staffing When Visiting A Community

Finding out a community’s staff-to-resident ratio is a great place to start, but there are other things worth considering. For instance, if your loved one has a chronic health condition, you should know if any staff members have specialized training or experience in meeting the needs of seniors with the same condition.

Here are just a few examples of questions you might wish to ask during your tour:

  • What type of staff is on-site around the clock (for example, is a registered nurse or a staff member trained in CPR available 24/7)?
  • What training are caregivers and other members of staff given?
  • What is the minimum number of caregivers on-site at any time?
  • Does the community have any visiting healthcare professionals (for example, registered nurses, podiatrists, doctors, and physical or occupational therapists)? If so, how often are they on-site to see residents?

We’re proud of our excellent caregiver-to-resident ratio and strive to give each resident the time and personalized care they deserve. To find out more about how our community can meet your loved one’s needs and preserve their health, well-being, and dignity during retirement, get in touch to arrange a guided tour today.