Anyone placing a loved one into a Residential Care Facility (RCF) or Assisted Living Facility Option I (ALF) needs to be aware of and understand the Pathway to Safety requirements. Let’s start by explaining what Pathway to Safety is. Simply put Pathway to Safety states that a resident in a RCF or ALF Option I must be able to get out of the building in an emergency with minimal assistance in five minutes or less. The State regulation (19 CSR 30 – 86.042 (28) states:
“All residents shall be physically and mentally capable of negotiating a normal path to safety unassisted or with the use of assistive devices within five (5) minutes of being alerted of the need to evacuate the facility as defined in subsection (1)(C) of this rule. I/II.”
19 CSR 30 – 86.047 (57) – Applies to Assisted Living
“Residents suffering from short periods of incapacity due to illness, injury or recuperation from surgery may be allowed to remain or be readmitted from a hospital if the period of incapacity does not exceed forty-five (45) days and written approval of a physician is obtained for the resident to remain in or be readmitted to the facility. II/III”
What is minimal assistance? According to Missouri Regulation (19 CSR 30 -86-047 (4 J)) minimal assistance is defined as;
“Minimal assistance may be the verbal intervention that staff must provide for a resident to initiate evacuating the facility;
“Minimal assistance may be the physical intervention that staff must provide, such as turning a resident in the correct direction, for a resident to initiate evacuating the facility; 4. A resident needing minimal assistance is one who is able to prepare to leave and then evacuate the facility within five (5) minutes of being alerted of the need to evacuate and requires no more than one (1) physical intervention and no more than three (3) verbal interventions of staff to complete evacuation from the facility”
The following are examples of assistance which is considered more than minimal.
A. Assistance to traverse down stairways;
B. Assistance to open a door; and
C. Assistance to propel a wheelchair.
Understanding Pathway to Safety will go a long way in helping a family choose appropriate placement for a loved one. Again this applies to Residential Care Facilities and Assisted Living Option I. There is an Assisted Living Option II which can choose to accept residents who cannot make the Pathway to Safety. If these facilities choose to expect resident(s) who cannot negotiate the Pathway to Safety they have to come up with and implement an individual evacuation plan to put into action in case of emergency. If a facility agrees to admit a resident who cannot negotiate the Pathway to Safety or if a resident is in an Assisted Living Option II and becomes unable to make the Pathway to Safety the price usually is higher or if already a resident goes up.