Frantic Call For Help From An Assisted Living Facility Resident

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.

6 thoughts on “Frantic Call For Help From An Assisted Living Facility Resident

  1. Ozzie

    I would like to take this chance to appologize on behalf of assisted living communities nation-wide, as a caregiver who enjoys working with the elderly and has experienced many emergencies specially since I mostly work the graveyard shift. Thankfully our facility Aegis of Ventura has a system in which our residents are equipped with personal call buttons (they wear in their wrist or neck) as well as multiple easy to access alerts mounted on the walls, that allows them to call for help through personal pagers that employees are required to always carry, these keep alerting us until said alert is responded. Regarding calls, our facility has multiple lines as well as a cellphone in which calls get forwarded to with voicemail service after-hours. Assisted living is a business where access to emergency personnel is crucially essential. We have made it soo easy to access us at anytime that I remember a time when one of our residents was at a hospital (surgery) and she actually called at 1:00AM to tell me that she could not reach the staff at the hospital, that’s right! At a hospital, that I got on the phone and called them since she did not have their phone number and her call button was on the floor, and told them that my resident needed help. When this resident came back she could not have been more grateful, I told her it’s our job as caregivers. Next time you think about an assisted community think: does this place have these alert options which they should! And test their call responce by calling everyonce in a while to check on them, specially after hours, as a caregiver It makes me happy to reassure their love ones that they are in good care. We are in a modern age, don’t expect nothing but the best for your love ones.

  2. admin Post author

    What a thoughtful response – I really appreciate your feedback and contribution – David

  3. Retirement Homes

    I am so sorry for your mother. Every communities which are related to give full attention to our senior citizens should always aware of these kind of emergency. Our senior citizens trust us because we promised them to give all the facilities they want, but in some cases we also can’t do anything in some situation, that should be understand by others.

  4. Jane @ simi valley assisted living

    Make sure that if you take our loved one to an assisted living care, the facility has a 24-hour emergency-call service. This is to reach them anytime you want to ask about their condition or in time of emergency.

  5. Medicaid Eligibility NJ

    I believe the content matter here is rattling wonderful , appreciate it for your efforts. Assisted living is a business where access to emergency personnel is crucially essential.

  6. Ana Mulvaney

    September 15, 2011

    Cuts in personnel and service put seniors at risk.
    Emeritus took over Meadowlark Assisted Living in Yreka CAlifornia and ruined all my work as a caregiver for my mom for the last two years. The resident assistants were all changed, I walked in and didn’t know one of them. My mother’s clothes had not been changed for a week, no one knew what she needed. The table waiters didn’t know who the diabetic residents were. The food was made more cheaply and residents were complaining. The head of the building was let go. The LVN’s were changed to CNA’s, not trained to a high level. Mistakes were made in ordering medications and the reason was “I didn’t know” by the new head of the medication dept.

    I called their comment line, got a recording 3 times. They called me back when I was driving home and didn’t listen, only wanted to dominate the conversation so they could make it impersonal. They didn’t care how upset we got, how our seniors are feeling. The memory care unit families were told to “get used to it, from now on it is just Corporate, Corporate, Corporate.” I checked my mom out the day that I realized the LVN was gone and I didn’t recognize anyone. I would never recommend anyone to live there.