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How to be Prepared for
State Inspection and Resident Council

By Sandra Stimson ADC, CALA, CDP
Executive Director,
Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care

Sandra Stimson has experience as
a corporate consultant, Corporate
Trainer and National Speaker. Her
experience is in long term care, as
Activity Director, Director of
Alzheimer's Units and Assistant
Administrator of a 550 bed long
term care county home.  She is
Co-founder of Pet Express Pet
Therapy Club, is a Life Replay
Specialist.  Sandra implements
dementia units nationwide.  Sandra
has written several books, Volunteer
Management Essentials for Long
Term Care and Pet Express Pet
Therapy Program. Sandra has been
a facilitator for Alzheimer's support
groups and is the Awards Chair for
the NJ Association of Activity
Professionals.  Sandra is the
Executive Director of
Council of Certified Dementia

Alternative Solutions in Long Term
Care offers resources for health care
professionals in many areas of
dementia care, care plans,
Snoezelen products, dementia
activity calendars, adult day care
calendars, sensory calendars,
reminisce videos for dementia,
activity books, and dates to
remember, party supplies,
resources and links.
If you’re holding monthly resident council meetings and are following up on every issue immediately, you
will have no surprises. If you have not implemented more empowerment groups and the environment is
toxic, than it can be guaranteed that the first time you hear of an issue will be from a state surveyor. There
should be no surprises during an inspection. We caution you not to pump the residents for information
about the “group meeting” with the inspectors.

Action steps to prepare for state inspection:
1. Trend the resident council minutes.

2. Begin asking the exact same questions the surveyors will ask in the group meeting. These questions
can be found in the Long Term Care Survey Book. The page is found in front of the book and is titled:
Quality of Life Assessment, Group Interview. Document the questions and responses. Assisted Living
does not have federal guidelines but it is recommended that Assisted Living and Adult Day Care follow
the same guideline questions for your council meetings. You can purchase the book from American
Health Care Association in Washington D.C.

3. Each month review one resident right with the Resident Council. Ask the Social Worker to review the
resident right. Place the resident right to be reviewed on the Activity Calendar in bold print and in the

4. Provide a form for high functioning residents who do not attend the meeting to complete. The form
should ask for their suggestions or concerns. Do not give their name at the meetings. Present their
comments at the resident council meetings.

5. Keep a folder of all resident council meetings and label this folder, “State Surveyors Ready File.” This
file contains the resident council minutes with resolutions and activity calendars. For the activity
calendars, bold anything on the calendar that you want surveyors to be aware of such as trips,
intergenerational events, pet therapy, empowerment groups, etc.

6. Meet with your volunteer ombudsman if you have one. Each time the volunteer is in the building, have
an exit meeting and document all concerns or suggestions and follow up. The volunteers do complete
written reports of each visit and submits their reports to their volunteer coordinator with the agency they
are working for. In turn, these are submitted to state surveyors. The volunteer ombudsman should not be
attending the resident council meetings unless invited. Families should never be allowed to attend these
private meetings.

7. Hold monthly Administrators Tea’s for the highest functioning residents. This should be a very formal
event, with china and a special snack. This is not a complaint session rather a time to gather and
discuss an issue, such as how the residents planned for a special holiday in their home. Have an topic
to discuss and props to go with it. It should be 45 minutes long. This provides a forum to build a
relationship with the administrator and sets the tone for an “open door policy” to the administrator.
Residents will come to the administrator if they develop a rapport

8. Prepare a list of the residents names who will be attending the group meeting with the inspectors and
keep in this folder. It should contain 5 resident names. Do not invite the entire resident council to the
surveyor’s group meeting.

9. Prepare “Do Not Enter Signs Resident Council in Process” for all doors leading into the room where
the surveyors will be meeting with the residents.

10. Type up the names of the residents (5) who will be attending the group meeting and present to the
surveyors during the entrance meeting. It’s is good to provide the resident names so that they are aware
in advance of who will be attending the meeting. You only need 5 names. It is a sampling of the residents
who attend the meeting and it should include the executive council if you have a president and vice

11. Work now to recruit a President and Vice President of the resident council.

12. Play a monthly resident rights bingo.

13. Yearly update the charts to show residents have been advised of their resident rights.

14. At every council meeting, note in the minutes that you have discussed where the resident rights are
Music: "Peg of My Heart" furnished by Heart and Soul Music "Providing Quality Music for Nursing Homes"
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