Before a resident is placed in a particular ICF/DD, you will want to investigate whether the facility is reputable and reliable, as well as a good fit for your needs. This website provides up-to-date information that should help in that determination.
Make a Preliminary List
Using the criteria described below that you find most important, compile a list of potential facilities, either on your own or with the help of Regional Center staff.
Location. CalQualityCare.org offers facility searches by zip code, city, or provider name. In many areas of California, few ICF/DDs are available. But some people find it most important for residents to maintain regular contact with family and friends in a familiar community. Consider the tradeoffs and honor personal preferences as much as possible.
Resident characteristics. Many people find it comforting to be around those with whom they have some similarities — in age, gender, medical condition, or need for special care. Because most facilities for the developmentally disabled are small, housing 15 or fewer residents, it may not always be possible to accommodate preferences fully. But if it is important to the potential resident, check out the information about residents provided in the facility profiles on CalQualityCare.org. It includes age, gender, type of disability, and care needs of the current residents.
Form of payment accepted. The site also indicates whether a facility accepts Medicare or Medi-Cal payments in addition to private payments.
Quality ratings. The type and training of staff, along with management’s response to concerns, obviously affect the quality of care. There should be enough staff, adequately trained and experienced, to provide clients with individual and professional attention. CalQualityCare.org hones in on these concerns by providing performance ratings for ICF/DDs from poor to superior, including:
- Overview: A summary rating of the facility based on the Staffing and Quality of Facility ratings
- Staffing: A rating based on the number of registered nurses, licensed practical and vocational nurses, direct care personnel hours, and total staff hours per client per day
- Quality of Facility: Based on the number of deficiencies and complaints the facility received during recent state and federal inspections and investigations
Get Additional Information
Phone the facilities on your list and briefly explain the essentials you seek. Ask the owner or operator whether the facility will be able to meet those needs. Also find out whether the facility can take on new residents or if there is a waiting list.
Cost. Ask about charges and fees you should expect, to avoid future surprises. Some key questions:
- Do any products or services require additional fees?
- What charges will be managed through the Regional Center?
- Under what circumstances could rates be increased?
Basic documents. If a particular facility seems promising, ask for documents such as descriptive brochures, admission agreement, and the resident’s rights policy. You might also get details about issues that are potential sticking points, including the facility’s policy for holding a bed if a resident requires hospitalization.
Licensing and insurance. Ask whether the facility is licensed by any state or government agency and covered by the appropriate insurance. A number of facilities are opening that claim to be able to provide care for residents with developmental disabilities, but only those licensed by state authorities are monitored for safety and quality of care. CalQualityCare.org includes only licensed facilities.
For questions about whether a facility is properly licensed, contact the nearest California Department of Public Health’s Licensing and Certification District Office.
Visit the Facilities
Tour the facility with its owner and administrator, asking any questions you might have. Visit all the places on your list to compare how they look and feel, paying special attention to the quality of care and the residents’ quality of life. Schedule initial tours in late afternoons, when most residents are likely to be back from adult day care or therapy sessions they attended during the day.
In the intimate setting of a facility for the developmentally disabled, the staff and administrators who are in close daily contact with residents are key. Their personalities and philosophies completely determine the feel of the place and the quality of care there. Be mindful of this when comparing and choosing a facility.
Use the comprehensive checklist, “Evaluating a Care Facility,” to help structure the questions you ask and the things you observe while at the facilities.
If possible, bring the potential resident on a tour of a facility before signing an admission agreement, both to help determine its suitability and to begin the process of becoming familiar with the new surroundings.
If you have any lingering concerns, it may be helpful to discuss them with the facility’s ombudsman, a trained impartial individual who advocates for residents. Contact the localLong-Term Care Ombudsman Program, or ask the facility for the contact information. Seeing how the facility responds to your request to speak with the ombudsman may be a good test of the staff’s openness and responsiveness to your concerns.