Residential care facilities for the elderly, or RCFEs as they are usually called, provide assistance to those who can no longer take care of themselves. RCFEs have been a booming business in California over the recent years, with numbers nearing 8,000 and demand continuing to increase.
If you already own a home but wish to turn it into a RCFE facility out of personal desire or necessity, there are important steps that should be taken so as to make this venture successful. While converting a residence into an RCFE is typically quite meaningful and rewarding when done correctly, there are many things to consider before proceeding.
Points To Consider
Before making the decision to open a RCFE home for seniors, it’s important to have a firm grasp on what’s involved. Though there are many rewards to being an RCFE owner, there are also significant demands. As such, you should be fully committed before beginning this journey.
First and foremost, potential RCFE owners will need to decide if running a home care facility is ultimately the right choice for them. Although this may seem like an easy answer, it takes some serious self-evaluation before taking this leap forward. Some people have personal preferences that may not coincide with opening their home to strangers on a regular basis.
Once you are certain that converting your home into an RCFE is the right choice, developing a mission statement is the next step to work on. A strong mission statement lays out clear guidelines for the facility’s goals, expectations, and priorities. This way, employees are always working to meet or exceed those standards. Plus it helps potential residents identify if this facility is right for them
A person considering making their home into an RCFE will need to be well aware that there are various rules, regulations, and laws that apply. One very important step is researching the applicable state laws and zoning regulations to make sure that the property is a viable fit, as well as determine what permits might be required. Some communities may prohibit such facilities altogether, while others tightly restrict their locations and operating hours—a homeowner hoping to offer round-the-clock care or expanded services to prospective residents should contact city authorities.
Before a new RCFE owner can even apply for a license, there are several requirements that must be completed. One of the most important requirements is to attend an RCFE training course that is approved by the state where you intend to operate your RCFE. This course will cover all the information you need in order to add on a new level of care and make your home facility more profitable.
The California Department of Social Services requires that owners not only take the required training classes for RCFE facilities, but that their employees too must complete certain training requirements including working under supervision, CPR/AED certification, medication administration, and others specific to the job duties.
Determine if Demand Exists for a New RCFE in Your Area
Before you begin working on any plans for turning your home into an RCFE, you will want to consider whether or not this type of living arrangement would even work in your area. For example, if you live in suburbia and there aren’t enough seniors in the immediate area to make an RCFE feasible, this type of arrangement is not going to work. On the other hand, if you live in a retirement community and there are already many elderly residents in your neighborhood and perhaps even in your building or complex, it will be much easier for an RCFE to succeed. A lack of interest in what will soon become a residence could mean that it would remain unused and therefore unprofitable, or at worst result in placing persons with serious needs in substandard living conditions.
Local government agencies and senior citizen organizations can provide information about current and future demand for RCFEs in one’s community. These groups often have information on demographic trends, current health care needs of seniors, and projected future healthcare needs.
Visiting nearby assisted living facilities is another way to determine local demand. While one will not know for certain that these individuals are actually interested in staying in the area when they are older, talking with facility staff can help determine what types of senior housing are most sought after by potential residents. This information may be used to develop projections about future demand for RCFEs or CCRCs.
Speaking with patient advocates in the area can provide insight into trends in demand for senior living facilities. These advocates may be familiar with patients’ preferences when it comes to housing or care providers, which could indicate future demand for assisted living residences.
The Journey of RCFE Licensing & Certification
One of the most important things that prospective owners need to keep in mind when looking into running an RCFE in California is that before anyone other than staff can move into a facility, it must be licensed. This means that no residents will be able to live there until staff members have completed all of the required training and certifications. To be granted a license your facility must meet all conditions set out by California Department of Social Services (CDSS).
In addition to licensing there is RCFE administrator certification training that must be completed under CDSS supervision. It is important to note that the California Department of Social Services also requires proof of three months operating costs saved up along with a good-faith deposit made payable to them which covers a percentage of a month’s service after the facility begins operations. If an owner closes the facility before residents have moved in, then this deposit is refundable to them. If it closes after residents move in, there can be a proportion of the three months operating costs saved up that CDSS will return to them. If they close down without all necessary licenses and certifications, then these items must be submitted within six months or else they will not receive any part of their good-faith deposit back from CDSS.
Make the Most of Your Time
The RCFE licensing and certification process can be a long one, but it doesn’t have to be a wasted one. With the application process lasting an average of 160 days, it’s important that you put together effective staff and promote the facility while waiting for your application to be reviewed.
After your application for licensure or certification has been filed, you can begin to recruit and hire staff. It’s important that the personnel in charge of the facility are people who will be committed to providing quality care, while also ensuring that any needful regulations are complied with. Individuals who qualify for hiring should have experience in similar facilities (preferably one that is like your proposed home), along with any necessary certifications (an example would be CPR certification).
When it comes to recruiting residents, there are a number of avenues to pursue. If you already have some relationships through your spiritual center or community, this can be a great first place to start. Asking around at similar facilities will also help you identify potential prospects who may be looking for an option outside of their current one.
By focusing on recruitment before receiving licensure or certification, you’ll put yourself in position for success when official approval is granted. This, along with early marketing of your facility, will increase the number of people who know about your facility and provide better chances that you’ll hit occupancy numbers off the bat (100% occupancy helps to ensure that you’ll turn a profit at the end of each month).
In order to make sure that you submit an RCFE application that is as complete as possible, it’s a good idea to consult with someone who has completed the process before. This can be a formal consultation through companies like California Care Advisors, or simply asking around at other facilities and trying to run down information from previous owners. The more information you have about licensing and certification for RCFEs, the greater chance you’ll put yourself in for receiving approval and avoiding unfortunate delays along the way.
InsureMyRCFE.com makes it easy for RCFEs to obtain the comprehensive liability, workers compensation, and commercial property insurance they need to operate. To learn more about our RCFE insurance services or discuss your particular needs, please give us a call at (805) 413-5668.