How can senior living communities better prepare for future health crisis?

How can senior living communities better prepare for future health crisis? How can senior living communities better prepare for future health crisis?

1 Expert Answer

Jed Johnson

Managing Director of Aging Services,  CARF International

Residents and staff in senior living have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 virus where rates of coronavirus infection in assisted living facilities are more than five times the national average. 


CARF standards can position assisted living providers to prepare for and respond to a pandemic using an approach that promotes the healthy and safety of residents and staff, fosters a culture of transparency, and focuses on individual needs. 


  • Promotion/prevention - Each community must adhere to the regulations set forth by the state in which it operates; however, CARF policies can help organizations prepare for infection control well in advance of an outbreak to reduce implementation times when a public health crisis occurs. 
  • Communication and transparency - The CARF standards foster a culture of transparency and require an organization to implement written procedures for reporting critical incidents to CARF and all external authorities. In addition to complying with legal and regulatory requirements, CARF-accredited-programs must communicate emergent and ongoing issues with staff.
  • Person-centered approach - The CARF standards require an adequate workforce to deliver care, and CARF’s person-centered approach extends to staff as well. It is important to balance the risk of infection spread with the risk of deteriorating emotional well-being due to resident isolation and loss of support.
  • Continuous quality improvement - CARF’s comprehensive standards go beyond state regulations to guide assisted living providers in their response to a pandemic and mitigate risk to residents and staff.

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