Workforce Qualifications, Training and Staffing

Perhaps one of the most common deficiencies seen during the survey of an Assisted Living Facility is the failure to train (or keep a record of training) employees along with properly documenting the paperwork required to be employed in the facility. Check out the regulation below, provided by the Georgia Department of Community Health for how to ensure your employee training will satisfy the requirements of the state: 

111-8-63-.09 Workforce Qualifications, Training and Staffing 

(1) The on-site manager and responsible staff persons must be at least 21 years of age and responsible for supervising the provision of care by all other staff. No staff person under the age of 18 is permitted to work in the assisted living community unless there is direct line-of-sight supervision being provided by the administrator, on-site manager, or a responsible staff person or the staff member is at least 17 years of age and has successfully completed a vocational-technical 19 training track as a nursing assistant through a Georgia high school.

 (2) Initial Training for All Staff. The administrator or on-site manager must ensure that any person working in the assisted living community as staff, receives training within the first 60 days of employment on the following:

 (a) residents’ rights and identification of conduct constituting abuse, neglect or exploitation of a resident and reporting requirements to include the employee’s receipt of a copy of the Long-Term Care Facility Resident Abuse Reporting Act as outlined in O.C.G.A. § 31-8-81 et seq.; 

(b) general infection control principles including the importance of hand hygiene in all settings and attendance policies when ill; 

(c) training necessary to carry out assigned job duties; and 

(d) emergency preparedness. 

(3) Initial Training for Staff Providing Hands-On Personal Services. In addition to the initial training required of all staff in paragraph (2) above, the administrator must ensure that staff hired to provide hands-on personal services to residents receive training within the first 60 days of employment which includes the following: 

(a) current certification in emergency first aid except where the staff person is a currently licensed health care professional; 

(b) current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation where the training course required return demonstration of competency;

 (c) medical and social needs and characteristics of the resident population, including special needs of residents with dementia; 

(d) residents’ rights and the provision of care to residents that is individualized and helpful; and 

(e) training specific to assigned job duties, such as, but not limited to, permissible assistance with medications, contraindications for medications that must be brought to the attention of appropriate individuals, assisting residents in transferring, ambulation, proper food preparation, the proper performance of health maintenance activities if serving as a designated proxy caregiver and responding appropriately to dementia-related behaviors. 

(4) Trained Staff Present. At least one staff person who has completed the minimum training requirements of Rule 111-8-63- .09(2)(a) through (d) and (3)(a) through (e) above must be present in the assisted living community at all times any residents are present to provide necessary oversight and assistance to staff providing hands-on personal services who have not completed the training, to ensure that care and services are delivered safely and in accordance with these rules. 

(5) Training Hours Required During the First Year of Employment. All staff offering hands-on personal services to the residents, including the administrator or on-site manager, must satisfactorily complete a total of at least twenty-four (24) hours of continuing education within the first year of employment as a direct care worker. Staff providing hands-on personal services in a specialized memory care unit must have 8 hours of training related specifically to dementia care, including in their 24 hours of first-year employment training. The courses offered must be relevant to assigned job duties and include such topics as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid certifications, utilizing standard precautions in working with aging residents, working with residents with Alzheimer’s or other cognitive impairments, working with persons who have developmental disabilities or persons who have a mental illness, providing social and recreational activities, understanding legal issues, performing necessary physical maintenance, fire safety, housekeeping activities, recognizing and reporting abuse, neglect, and exploitation, preparing and serving food safely, preserving the dignity and rights of residents receiving care to make meaningful choices, providing and documenting medication assistance, or other topics as determined necessary by the Department to support compliance. 

(6) Ongoing Staff Training. Beginning with the second year of employment, staff providing hands-on personal services must have a minimum of sixteen (16) hours of job-related continuing education as referenced in paragraph 111-8-63-.09(5) above annually. For staff providing hands-on personal services in the memory care unit, at least two hours of the ongoing continuing education required each year must be devoted specifically to training relevant to caring for residents with dementia. 

(7) Training Records. The community must maintain documentation reflecting course content, instructor qualifications, agenda, and attendance rosters for all training provided. 

(8) Proxy Caregiver Training. An assisted living community employing proxy caregivers must provide training to the proxy caregivers in accordance with the Rules and Regulations for Use of Proxy Caregivers, Chapter 111-8-100 subject to the limitation that only certified medication aides may administer medications on behalf of the community.

 (9) Hospice Training. The assisted living community shall ensure that any medication aide(s) who will be administering liquid morphine to any hospice patient(s) residing in the community receive adequate training from a licensed hospice on the safe and proper administration of liquid morphine prior to such administration and on an annual basis thereafter. The community shall maintain documentation of all training provided. 

(10) Staff Health Examinations and Screenings. The administrator, on-site manager, and each employee must have received a tuberculosis screening and a physical examination by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant within twelve months prior to providing care to the residents. The physical examination must be sufficiently comprehensive to assure that the employee is physically qualified to work and free of diseases communicable within the scope of employment. Follow-up examinations must be conducted by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant for each administrator or staff person to determine readiness to return to work following a significant illness or injury. Health information, screenings, assessments, and medical releases regarding each staff member must be retained in a readily retrievable format by the assisted living community and made available for review and/or copying by Department representatives upon request.

 (11) Criminal History Background Checks for Owners Required. The owner of the business or agency applying for the license must comply with the requirements of the Rules and Regulations for Criminal Background Checks, Chapter 111-8-12. 

(12) Criminal History Background Checks for Director, Administrator, and Onsite Manager Required. Prior to serving as a director, administrator or onsite manager of an assisted living community, the community must obtain a satisfactory fingerprint records check determination for the person to be hired in compliance with the Rules and Regulations for Criminal Background Checks, Chapter 111-8-12. 

(13) Criminal History Background Checks for Direct Access Employees Required. Prior to serving as a direct access employee, the community must obtain a satisfactory fingerprint records check determination for the person to be hired in compliance with the Rules and Regulations for Criminal Background Checks, Chapter 111-8-12. 

(14) The administrator or on-site manager must obtain an employment history for each employee and maintain documentation in the employee’s file. If the potential employee has no prior employment history, then the assisted living community must retain documentation of a satisfactory personal reference check.

 (15) Personnel files must be maintained in the assisted living community for each employee and for three years following the employee’s departure or discharge. These files must be available for inspection by departmental staff but must be maintained to protect the confidentiality of the information contained in them from improper disclosure. The files must include the following:

 (a) evidence of a satisfactory fingerprint record check determination, if applicable; 

(b) report of a physical examination completed by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant, and a TB screening completed within the 12 months preceding the date of hire;

 (c) evidence of training, skills competency determinations, and recertifications as required by these rules and, if applicable, the Rules for Proxy Caregivers, Chapter 111-8-100; 

(d) employment history, including previous places of work, employers, and telephone contacts with previous employers;

 (e) supporting documentation reflecting that the employee has the basic qualifications as represented, e.g. documentation of good standing by the nursing board, no findings of abuse, neglect, or exploitation entered against the individual in the nurse aide registry, satisfactory report of motor vehicle driving record where the employee may be transporting residents; and

 (f) written evidence of satisfactory initial and annual work performance reviews for unlicensed staff providing hands-on personal care. Where the unlicensed staff performs specialized tasks, such as health maintenance activities, assistance with medications, or medication administration, such performance reviews must include the satisfactory completion of skills competency checklists as specified in applicable rules. Such reviews must be conducted by staff or contractors qualified by education, training, and experience to assess that the assigned 24 duties are being performed in accordance with these rules and accepted health and safety standards. 

(16) Where the assisted living community permits a resident to hire his or her own companion-sitter, proxy caregiver to perform health maintenance activities or aide of any sort, the assisted living community must require assurance that the companion sitter, proxy caregiver or aide so hired is familiar with emergency evacuation routes and has documentation reflecting compliance with the provisions of the Rules for Proxy Caregivers, Chapter 111-8-100, as applicable. 

(17) The administrator, on-site manager, and staff persons must not be under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances while engaged in any work-related activity on behalf of the assisted living community.

 (18) The community must maintain minimum on-site staff to resident ratio of one awake direct care staff person per 15 residents during waking hours and one awake direct care staff person per 25 residents during non-waking hours where the residents have minimal care needs. However, the assisted living community must staff above these minimum on-site staff ratios to meet the specific residents’ ongoing health, safety, and care needs. 

(a) Staff, such as cooks and maintenance staff, who do not receive on-going direct care training and whose job duties do not routinely involve the oversight or delivery of direct personal care to the residents, must not be counted towards these minimum staffing ratios. Personnel who work for another entity, such as a private home care provider, hospice, etc. or private sitters cannot be counted in the staff ratios for the assisted living community.

(b) At least one administrator, on-site manager, or a responsible staff person must be on the premises 24 hours per day providing supervision whenever residents are present. 

(c) Residents must be supervised consistent with their needs. 

(19) Sufficient staff time must be provided by the assisted living community such that each resident: 

(a) receives services, treatments, medications, and diet as prescribed; 

(b) receives proper care to prevent decubitus ulcers and contractures; 

(c) is kept comfortable and clean; 

(d) is treated with dignity, kindness, and consideration and respect; 

(e) is protected from avoidable injury and infection; 

(f) is given prompt, unhurried assistance if she or he requires help with eating; 

(g) is given assistance, if needed, with daily hygiene, including baths and oral care; and 

(h) is given assistance in transferring and assisted self-preservation when needed. 

(20) All persons, including the administrator or on-site manager, who offer direct care to the residents on behalf of the assisted living community, must maintain an awareness of each resident’s normal appearance and must intervene, as appropriate, if a resident’s state of health appears to be in jeopardy. (21) All assisted living communities must develop and maintain accurate staffing plans that take into account the specific needs of the residents and monthly work schedules for all employees, including relief workers, showing planned and actual coverage for each day and night. The assisted living community must retain the completed staff schedules for a minimum of one year. 

(22) Staff must wear employee identification badges which are readily visible with abbreviations for professional/special credentials displayed on the badges if any.

Top 3 Takeaways: 

  • (10) Staff Health Examinations and Screenings. The administrator, on-site manager, and each employee must have received a tuberculosis screening and a physical examination by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant within twelve months prior to providing care to the residents. The physical examination must be sufficiently comprehensive to assure that the employee is physically qualified to work and free of diseases communicable within the scope of employment. Follow-up examinations must be conducted by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant for each administrator or staff person to determine readiness to return to work following a significant illness or injury. Health information, screenings, assessments, and medical releases regarding each staff member must be retained in a readily retrievable format by the assisted living community and made available for review and/or copying by Department representatives upon request.

One of the most common items that facilities are tagged for is the failure to document tuberculosis screenings and physical examinations. Be sure to track these documents by using a tickler file or spreadsheet to ensure your staff stays current.

  • (19) Sufficient staff time must be provided by the assisted living community such that each resident: A-H

Be sure to have proper staffing ratios that not only abide by the regulatory statute of 1 staff member per 15 residents during daytime hours (1:25 for nighttime hours) but also reflect the services your population may need. If you have many residents who require heavy care, it will be necessary to staff over the regulated ratio.

  1. Ongoing training and the documentation of said training is 100% necessary and will require the full attention of the administrator or their designee. Most facilities will provide the training that is required but oftentimes fail to keep records in the employee personnel file which causes them to be deficient in practice. 

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