We recently received a very interesting email that illustrates an extremely important point and consideration about assisted living facilities.
The message came through our site from a family member of a resident trying to reach an employee or administrator (really, anyone) at a particular facility that is listed on our site. The message was:
“What is a viable After Hours, or, a Week End, telephone number that a staff member will answer other than [your main phone number]. My Mother resides at your facility and in an emergency, I am unable to reach any of your employees after I have received a frantic call for help from her! Please help me with this. I am disabled and live in another state, which is just too far to hop into my car and run over to see my Mother when she seems to be in need! I understand that my aunt, and my cousin, have both placed their names on your “Emergency Contact List”. The fact of the matter is: that neither of them live in Maryland whereas my Brother and I are her only children and we need to be called in the event of an emergency. Today, both of us received calls from my aunt, and my cousin, stating we needed to take care of the matter at hand concerning my mother. However, we were unsuccessful in calling your staff for more than four hours. My Mothers name is….”
This must have been an incredibly frustrating, and scary situation for the family, and it does highlight a very important point if you are looking into assisted living for a family member: Who answers the phone at the facility, and is someone available by phone 24×7? If the facility’s messaging system comes on (voicemail), and a message is left, does the facility have a policy as to how soon calls are returned?
At some facilities, residents may have private phones in their rooms. At other facilities, perhaps not (especially in cases where the resident has a disability, or a condition such as Alzheimer’s that would hinder their ability to use a phone on their own. In any event, being able to reach the facility, and a family member quickly, as illustrated by the message above, is one aspect of the service and management at any assisted living facility that should not be overlooked.