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The Role of Physicians Practicing in Assisted Living: Time for Change

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Geriatrics Department chair Dr. Paul Katz, along with Dr. Alan Kronhaus and Dr. Steven Fuller, outlined in a recent editorial to JAMDA the growing need for national standards in assisted living communities. These standards, they write, should ideally be developed through a partnership of leading clinical experts spanning all relevant disciplines and, most importantly, the industry itself. Standards have been implemented for nursing homes and have had positive effects. Many of the lessons learned over the past several decades can now be applied to assisted living standards to ensure consistency of care, adherence to applicable standards, and the provision of robust quality improvement programs. The authors advocate for a thoughtful review of these nursing home standards, which have benn proven effective and cost-efficient, and their applicability in assisted living communities.

The authors also pointed out the uniquely advantageous position physicians have in ensuring each resident in assisted living receives the right care at the right time and in the right place. Rethinking of this role would be a necessary part of new standard development, as well as a potentially new position that would be akin to the nursing home medical director. Physicians in these roles could contribute significantly to overall team function while advocating for patient care goals. For more information on the authors’ recommendations, view the full article below.

Full article in JAMDA