Straight Talk

The Story Behind CARR's SAVE OUR GRANNIES Campaign

CARR's First Crowdfunding Effort: 

CARR wishes (with eyes shut tight) to afford one Exhibitor Table at an upcoming local aging conference. From this coveted spot, CARR's 2 advocates will wear mildly comfortable heels but friendly smiles to canvas the trade show floor for 17 hours & present to senior advocates our meaningful work & innovative approach to advocacy.

Due to a shoestring budget, CARR is restricted to local events & it is unprecedented good fortune that such a significant one IS LOCAL this year! This is a networking opportunity we really have a chance at. Could you please help us get there? Could you please help us spread the word about caring for our grannies & grandpas? Below are 3 bullet points to help you wrap your mind around a donation to this campaign:

CARR Has An App For That - "Assisted Living 101"

Thanks to the generosity of our volunteer, Padma, CARR can now offer consumers the “Assisted Living 101” App available for download on any Android device.

Seniors, families and professionals will find answers to the most fundamental questions about California’s assisted living industry. One more way CARR is empowering consumers using innovation and education.

Watch tutorial &/or download here https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.rcfereform.carr

(And for iPhone users, please know we are currently working on being able to assist you as well. We invite you to follow us for updates.) 

Help Us Keep The Lights On

We publish the compliance histories, plus other relevant organization information, on all facilities in San Diego & Imperial Counties and a growing number of other CA counties.

We teach seniors how to make informed placement decisions. 

We build confidence and compassion in our students interns. 

We code data to study problem areas of senior care and inform policy changes. 

And, lots of times, we just listen and give families a space to vent their frustrations. 

CARR is earning a special place in communities across California.  While our personal passion for seniors' comfort, health and safety keeps Chris and I going, passion just simply does not keep the lights on.

Which is why we are asking you to take a moment to read exactly how we have helped others in 2015, so you can ensure we are around to help you when the time comes.  Read on...

INTERACT: A Protocol for Delivering Better Care

CARR's mission is to improve resident care in assisted living by educating consumers and providers.  One of the ways we can achieve that is by promoting tools providers can use to elevate the quality-of-care they deliver, while educating consumers that they should be asking providers whether they use the INTERACT protocol.  And if not, why not?

INTERACT (Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers) is a quality improvement program that is a product of a contract between the Georgia Medical Care Foundation and the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Funding for adaptation of INTERACT for assisted living and home health settings was provided by a CMS Innovation Award.  

The fundamentals of the program include early identification, assessment, documentation and communication about the changes in a resident's condition with the goal of "improving care and reducing the frequency' of avoidable trips to the hospital.  As assisted living facilities in California continue to admit residents having higher acuity levels into a non-medical setting, it becomes increasingly important for providers to 'amp up' their caregivers' professionalism, training, and ability to quickly and accurately identify a resident's change of condition.   INTERACT Assisted Living Version 1.0 Tools is easily accessible, free, and can be immediately implemented in any assisted living setting.  

Video Surveillance In Assisted Living: Know Your Rights Under New State Guidelines

Despite the ongoing concerns of CARR and other statewide advocates, California’s Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing (DSS/CCL) recently released a set of guidelines permitting assisted living facilities to use video surveillance in both common and private areas of facilities.  The set of guidelines was reported to have been issued in response to the growing use of video surveillance systems in California’s assisted living facilities by facilities themselves.

CARR takes issue with both (1) the state’s creation of generic guidelines, rather than explicit statutory authority and regulations, and (2) the set of guidelines themselves.  CARR submits that the policy is a quick fix that neither promotes resident safety nor mitigates resident risks.  Instead, these guidelines provide facilities with unlimited discretion to monitor consenting residents. (You can read and evaluate CARR’s position paper here.)

As a service to residents and their families, CARR provides below an overview and itemized summary of DSS/CCL’s guidelines to ensure you are fully informed of your rights and areas where they might be limited.  Actual guidelines may be found on DSS/CCL’s website using the link provided here.  

Overview Summary—DSS/CCL’s video surveillance guidelines:

Flu Season in Assisted Living, Tips for Residents & Families

'Tis the season.  Flu season, that is.  And for the elderly, this means additional vigilance to safeguard their health. How well prepared is your facility as we enter flu season?  What preventive measures is the facility taking?  Is the facility prepared to handle an outbreak?

It is well known seniors are at a greater risk of complications should they contract influenza.  And group settings, like assisted living facilities, may increase a senior's exposure to contagious diseases. According to the CDC, it is estimated that between 80-90% of seasonal flu-related deaths occur in people 65 years and older and between 50-70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occur within this same age group.  

San Diego County Awards Contract to CARR for Development of Assisted Living Rating System

"CARR is honored to be the County of San Diego's vendor entrusted with developing a fair rating system deserving the confidence of the public and providers." --Chris Murphy, CARR's Executive Director

SAN DIEGO, Calif., May 5, 2015 -- The County of San Diego, Aging & Independence Services awarded Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform (CARR) a fixed price contract for a pilot project to create a rating system for the County's assisted living facilities, and to develop a consumer-friendly website to display the ratings and facility information.  The pilot program is a six-month effort with a current contract value of $50,000.

CARR Contributes To Discussion On Perceptions of Aging

"Why is there a drastic difference in people's perceptions of aging versus reality?"  This was the question recently put to 44 experts in the field of aging by SeniorCare.com.  They compiled these responses to produce the report, American's Misconception On Aging. CARR was fortunate enough to be selected as one of the contributors, alongside Dr. Bill Thomas, the SCAN Foundation and the American Health Care Association.  Below are some of the key findings and an excerpt from our contribution.  The entire report may be viewed here.

Key Findings from the report included:

Centralized CCL Complaint Hotline

Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division (DSS/CCLD) launched its new centralized complaint hotline this past week. The hotline's objective is to streamline the complaint process for consumers, and to assure information about complaints is consistently collected across all complaint report types.  Once a complaint is filed through the central call office, it is reviewed by a field-seasoned CCL inspector; within a few hours after the complaint has been reported, it is directed to the appropriate regional field office for investigation.  Once in the regional office, the agency must initiate its investigation within the 10-day regulatory time frame. 

The 8-4-4 number is toll free, so there is now one less impediment to filing a complaint - you don't have to pay for the call.  If its easier to email a complaint, the CCLD's new poster gives you the address:  LetUsNo@dss.ca.gov.  CARR encourages all family members, visitors in assisted living facilities, and reminds all mandated reporters to immediately report any event or circumstance endangering the health and safety of residents of assisted living facilities.  As the poster says. . . If you SEE something, SAY something.  

Use CARR's "Facility Snapshots"* To Narrow Your Facility Search

Long-term care options require extensive research, research that few consumers have the time to do, especially when an immediate need occurs.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides consumers with decipherable icons and easy access to compliance histories for skilled nursing facilities; however, this type of data is still not provided for consumers of assisted living services.  CARR was founded in 2009 to begin to fill this void and is currently the only public charity in California providing consumers unbiased, online access to the compliance histories for assisted living facilities.

But....poring over individual public documents is quite time-consuming (we should know) and, to the untrained eye, may provide limited assistance when attempting to initially narrow down a facility search.  To ease this burden for the consumer, CARR has partnered with San Diego County’s Aging and Independence Services, to provide "Facility Snapshots"* on the assisted living facilities in the region.  (AIS-sponsored Facility Snapshot's are denoted on our site by this green icon).