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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

With the recent release and implementation of the Senior Living Standards we understand there are many questions that may need answering. If you have any further questions please feel free to reach out to our team of experts and contact us at accreditation@standardswise-india.in.

To go to the synopsis of the standards, please click here.

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NATIONAL SAFETY & QUALITY HEALTH SERVICE STANDARD

Retirement Communities/Living – progressive ageing is a challenge. Many are not equipped to handle this. Ambulance and doctor facilities are good for remote locations, but in B cities, where there is access to good medical care, these facilities become redundant. What are the health processes relating to ageing that are to be in place in retirement communities?
The standards document has two separate quality standards that touch upon home care, other essential services, pandemic control, infection control and so on. These standards would address health processes related to ageing but would stop short of addressing health care as a hospital or medical centre.
Most communities talk of active living. Psychological conditioning of seniors is not a practice with many communities. How would you include this as part of the medical "diet" in governing? Brain ageing is an integral part of the ageing process. How do we include this as part of the annual score card of residents? Is there a score card process?
Yes, there is an established process to assess the residents. Here are a couple of indicators that are part of the assessment. These indicators have an exhaustive evidence and validation criteria.:

M.5.1.1 There are suitably qualified/skilled staff using needs assessment tools to identify changing needs of individual residents.

M.5.1.2 There are documented and well recognised processes for staff and other professionals for monitoring changes in resident circumstances.

M.5.2.1 There is a documented and well recognised process to consult with residents experiencing changed circumstances.
Medical waste disposal is an important aspect and highlighted more recently during the pandemic. A guide on medical waste disposal and regular orientation of the residents is an important aspect. Is this included in the standards?
There is one complete criteria or in laymen terms, one chapter on medical waste disposal in the standards.
How do we differentiate eligibilities and entitlements? Slope/ramp, anti-skid tiles, elder friendly toilets are entitlements.
One whole quality standard is based on design and construction and is valued at 90 points to the accreditation score. It is the second largest accreditation section after Management which is valued at 120 points.
RERA is not applicable in most of the senior communities. RERA is focused more on the construction standards and handing over. While communities have be looked at more than just RERA.
RERA is a government sanctioned regulation act as far as the construction and related approvals part of the project, is concerned. The Standards have no jurisdiction on this aspect, except to ensure that Design and construction aspects related to friendly senior communities are being met.
The library concept seems quite ancient in terms of just books. The needs are more of magazines and newspapers. Are there any specific standards for e-libraries in the communities? E-libraries include music libraries and infotainment.
Agreed. The library must evolve with the changing times. E-libraries should be part of the offering in Senior communities.
Labor compliances - adherence to minimum wage standards and compliance audits. While it is not possible to enforce, it is important to sensitize communities to avoid any inspection related disruptions.
The standards do not dictate wages and perks. It only advises to ensure that local and national laws are followed and complied with. The standards limits itself to ensure that these laws are complied with and that there is evidence. It does not aim to comment on the laws.
Food and hygiene. Are there regulations to meet food standards in terms of quality for the residents? Are dietary charts in place? Food and hygiene are also linked to the eating time regulations for elders. Many of the living facilities have a home delivery system, that makes it difficult to track this very important aspect of living. Food recycling and treating food disposal are very important.
There is a full chapter on food and hygiene in the quality standards. Dietary charts are advised but there are no actual dietary charts as part of the standards, since these are generic to the country and food habits are more local and personal.
External space safety audit guidelines. This will include closing of open sewage and sanitization. This also includes elder friendly spaces, even surfaces and so on. Grab bars at vantage positions and seating for elders along walk paths are some aspects. Moss free surfaces (to avoid slipping) and gradients that are elder friendly. How do we ensure that the external space is clutter free from rusting iron, piled up leaves (can attract insects and reptiles) and so on.
All the concerns mentioned above are covered under quality standards of Facility management, Design/construction and Hygiene.
Financial discipline: One of the biggest aspects of senior living is the identification and ownership of the common areas and amenities. As "resident associations" are considered as "manipulated" independent working of the associations – needs to be spelt out. What are the storage standards to meet emergencies (for exemple pandemic – food storage assumed importance).
The standards do not comment on the "structure" of ownership or otherwise of the community. It takes off, after the community is formulated and established as per the law of the land. The standards are not concerned about the "ownership" of the spaces, but are certainly concerned about its upkeep, maintenance and usage.
Do annual reports need to disclose information regarding deposits collected from residents?
The standards do not comment on the annual report or any financial working, except to ensure that evidence of mandatory compliance is done by the management.
Pets policy in the senior community. While animals have a therapeutic effect, they are equally dangerous for elders. Even as pets. How do we regulate this in the governance?
For the moment, these version of the standards have deliberately kept out commenting or advising on pets' policy, since pets as a part of a senior community has yet to catch on in India. This can change in time, based on feedback and suggestions from the residents.
Resident documentation and digitization - can all residents key records like insurance, blood group and medical history be kept under a non-disclosure agreement with the administrative head?
Yes, it is a part of the standards under the Governance section.
Buying and selling of property. Currently this is impacted as many communities make it difficult for elders to exit and have to buy or sell only through the designated company. This is a restrictive practice. Free will is an important aspect, subject to interviews by the governing body of any new buyer. Do the standards provide comment on this?
The standards do not comment on the "ownership structure" of the community. It takes off, after the community is formulated and established as per the law of the land.
Policy for care givers - as many of the residents will have a secondary care giver does it incorporate their personal hygiene and medical testing?
The standards have a robust criteria for the hygiene and wellbeing of the caregiver with periodic testing, reporting and documentation.