Adult Foster Homes and Adult Foster Care
in Vancouver, Washington
Adult Foster Homes are also known as Adult Family Homes, Adult Foster Care Homes, Adult Care Homes, and Residential Care Homes in Vancouver, Washington.
Adult Foster Homes (AFHs) are residential homes licensed to provide personal care for up to six non-related residents. Services in these homes vary and market offerings are broad. In general, these homes provide care to people who need assistance with activities of daily living. (The age-range of residents varies from 18 years on up, but typically residents are older.) Some homes specialize in dementia care, others in mental health, and still others in developmental disabilities. A few even have ventilator services. The GoodLife Adult Family Home specializes in Alzheimer’s Care, and daily care for frail elderly residents.
The Vital Role of Adult Foster Homes
The Adult Foster Home concept has been around for some time, and fills a critical niche in the elderly housing and health care continuum. In general, Adult Foster Homes provide the close attention and daily living care that isn’t available in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, boarding homes, and memory care facilities.
According to the King County Long Term Care Ombudsman web site: “A typical nursing home caregiver may have more than 10 residents to care for during a day shift, and if two or three caregivers are absent, that caregiver will be given more residents to care for. Typically the afternoon shift has a higher ratio of residents to staff (1:15-20) and night shifts have the highest ratio (1:20-25).”
This problem is further complicated by high caregiver-turnover in facilities, and the use of temporary agency staff. “Revolving door employees” may not be as familiar with the needs, preferences, and care routines of individual patients. Consequently, the care may not be acceptable to many residents.
Family members with loved ones in assisted living facilities complain about lack of food and hydration, lack of incontinent care, high rates of urinary tract infections, improper medication administration, and similar care failures that are inherent in “Big Box” facilities. One family member summed it up this way: “If a resident can fend for themselves and doesn’t need any assistance, they may do well in assisted living. But if they must rely on a caregiver for something, they have to expect that need won’t be filled some, or all, of the time.”
The Appeal of Adult Foster Care
Adult Foster Homes, on the other hand, have a minimum 1-to-6 caregiver-to-resident ratio. The very best AFHs are those in which the owners live on-site and provide the direct care-giving of the residents. However, some Adult Foster Homes with hired caregivers also do a fine job. The primary consideration is how closely the owners are involved ... hands-on or absentee? Basically, the owners and staff become closely familiar with each resident’s needs and provide attentive care, as if they were a family member.
In addition to quality care, another key appeal of Adult Foster Homes is that they can provide a warm home environment, instead of a clinical facility life, or dreary institutional existence. The GoodLife Adult Family Home prides itself in offering, arguably, the finest home environment in the marketplace. (Some of our residents claim they live better at the GoodLife, than at any previous time. We’re extremely proud of that!)
The cost of care is also a primary appeal. Adult Foster Home fees are a fraction of equivalent in-home care, while providing continuing 24-hour care, rather than partial-day care. The cost is also substantially lower than Nursing Homes, or other elder care facilities that provide equivalent 24-hour care.
From a social and economic standpoint, Adult Foster Homes are one of the best-conceived private solutions to public funding problems. The Washington State Residential Care Council (WSRCC) estimates that Adult Foster Care Homes save taxpayers $675,000 PER DAY in reduced care costs that would otherwise be paid to higher-cost facilities.