Transitioning to Memory Care Neighborhood
Memory Care Communities or Memory Care Neighborhoods in Assisted Living Communities are required to have increased safety measures to ensure residents are not able to leave the premises unattended. The most obvious safety feature is a set of secured doors that can be opened with a code that staff and visitors use. Some communities may even issue an access code to family members or frequent visitors.
Imagine being an alert Assisted Living Resident that is ambulatory and cognizant of the surrounding but is placed in a secured memory care neighborhood and restricted from leaving. This in part defines entrapment! The community therefore must foremost obtain the written approval from either the resident (if capable of making an informed decision), a guardian or other legal representative if resident has one appointed, or a relative. The relatives have a hierarchy so a distant cousin can’t coerce a family member to transition to memory care. The hierarchy in order is a spouse, an adult child, parent, adult sibling, adult grandchild, adult niece, or nephew, and lasty and aunt or uncle!
Regulations for Memory Care Neighborhoods
The regulations in the Commonwealth of Virginia require additional clinical documents. A Serious Cognitive Assessment form documents the clinical justification for admission or continued residency in a memory care community. This form is essentially an addendum to the History & Physical assessment The community should offer you a copy while securing a deposit or shorty after. The Serious Cognitive Assessment form should be completed by a Physician or Nurse Practitioner. If a resident is simply transitioning from Assisted Living to the Memory Care neighborhood within the same community, an original H&P will suffice and only the Serious Cognitive Assessment form is necessary.
Memory Care Residents
It should not be assumed that all memory care residents are afflicted with progressive dementia causing diseases. It is quite possible for a resident to present with short term cognitive deficits. In my assisted living experience, I have had numerous residents move into memory care and eventually “graduate” to Assisted Living! To ensure continued residency in memory care is required, the serious cognitive assessment form should be reviewed six months after move-in and annually thereafter.