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Adult Day Care - Selecting An Adult Day Center

Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 1Adult Day Care - Benefits Of The Center Setting, The Facility, Goals Of The Adult Day Program, Care Models

Selecting an adult day center

According to the NADSA's publication Your Guide to Selecting an Adult Day Services Center, the first step in selecting a high-quality adult day center is to determine the needs of the program participant and the caregiver. The program participant may have the following needs: a safe, secure environment; social activities; assistance with eating, walking, toileting, and medicines; physical, speech, or occupational therapy; health monitoring; accommodations for special dietary requirements; personal care; and exercise. A caregiver's needs may differ considerably. The caregiver may require reliable coverage in order to work outside of the home; occasional respite; assistance with transportation; support and education; or assistance in planning for care. After the most critical needs are identified, the local Area Agency on Aging is an excellent resource in locating programs in the community that meet those needs.

Potential program participants or caregivers should telephone several adult day centers and inquire about eligibility criteria and application procedures, and request printed information about the program, such as newsletters, brochures, and activity calendars. The program materials should contain information regarding ownership, years of operation, license or certification, hours and days of operation; availability of transportation; fees; conditions accepted, such as memory impairment, limited mobility, or incontinence; staff credentials and training; staffing ratios; health services and activities provided; and menus.

A visit to the adult day center is one of the most reliable means to judge a program's level of quality. According to the NADSA, the following questions are important: Do visitors feel welcome at the center? Do staff members spend time finding out what a prospective participant wants and needs? Do staff members clearly explain the center's activities and services? Do staff members give information about staffing ratios and qualifications, program procedures, costs, and care-giver expectations? Is the center clean, pleasant, and odor-free? Is the center wheelchair accessible? Is the furniture sturdy, clean, and comfortable? Do staff, volunteers, and participants appear cheerful? Are participants encouraged to help plan activities or make suggestions for program improvement? Current and past caregivers and participants may provide valuable information regarding a center's level of quality.

Adult day centers are an integral part of the long-term care continuum. Caregivers and participants benefit from the health and social services that are provided in a group setting for costs that are significantly lower than those typical in nursing home and home health care. And perhaps most important to caregivers and participants, adult day participants are able to continue living in the community while delaying or preventing inappropriate institutionalization.



NATIONAL ADULT DAY SERVICES ASSOCIATION. Your Guide to Selecting an Adult Day Services Center. Washington, D.C.: NADSA, 1995.

NATIONAL ADULT DAY SERVICES ASSOCIATION. Standards and Guidelines for Adult Day Services. Washington, D.C.: NADSA, 1997.

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