The Importance of RCFE Staff Training

Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) play a vital role in California’s healthcare landscape, providing necessary care and support to elderly residents who require assistance with activities of daily living (ADL’s). As the aging population continues to grow in California, the demand for RCFEs is on the rise. This demand is expected to continue to grow in the coming years and decades.

To help ensure the well-being of elderly residents and maintain the highest standards of care, it is important that your RCFE receives relevant ongoing RCFE staff training.  

In this article, we will explore the significance of staff training in RCFEs across California, pointing out the benefits it brings to residents, staff, and your RCFE.

The Growing Importance of RCFEs in California

California’s elderly population is expanding at an unprecedented rate. The baby boomer generation is aging, and this demographic shift is causing a surge in the demand for senior care services, particularly in residential care facilities. As a result, RCFEs are becoming an increasingly central component of the state’s healthcare infrastructure. 

To meet the evolving needs of the elderly population, as an assisted living administrator, you need to ensure your RCFE maintains a high standard of care. Ongoing RCFE staff training is a core component of this process.

Ensuring Resident Safety and Well-being

One of the primary reasons staff training is so important in RCFEs is to ensure the safety and well-being of residents. Elderly residents often have complex medical needs that can include a large range of conditions, including chronic conditions, cognitive impairments, and mobility issues. 

Competently trained staff are better able to provide the necessary care, administer medications, and respond to emergencies promptly. Proper training also helps staff identify signs of abuse or neglect, protecting vulnerable residents from harm.

Compliance with Regulations

RCFEs in California are subject to strict regulations and licensing requirements. Compliance with these regulations is not optional; it’s mandatory, and staff training is a fundamental component of regulatory compliance.

ongoing RCFE staff training

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) outlines specific training requirements for RCFE staff, including orientation training, continuing education, and specialized training for residents with particular needs, such as dementia care. 

Additionally, if you are new to the industry and are looking to learn how to open a residential care home in California, then compliance, regulations, and related training requirements will be a foundational component of your learning process.

If your RCFE does not meet these training requirements, it can result in penalties, fines, or even the revocation of your facility’s license. Ensuring training requirements are being met is critical for the legal operation of RCFEs.

Enhancing Quality of Care

Quality of care is a cornerstone of RCFEs, and staff training is directly tied to quality of care. Well-trained staff can provide residents with more personalized and effective care, improving their overall quality of life. 

Training in topics such as proper nutrition for RCFE residents, medication management, fall prevention, and communication skills empowers staff to address each resident’s unique needs, leading to higher resident satisfaction and better health outcomes. 

This specialized training helps demonstrate that the RCFE’s leadership is positively engaged in the facility’s community.

Promoting Professionalism and Employee Satisfaction

Investing in RCFE staff training also promotes professionalism among RCFE employees. When staff members receive proper training, they feel more confident and competent in their roles. This sense of professionalism not only benefits residents but also contributes to a positive and productive work environment. 

Employees who feel valued and well-trained are more likely to stay in their positions, reducing turnover rates in RCFEs. Lower turnover rates result in more experienced and knowledgeable staff and good assisted living managers, which, in turn, leads to improved resident care. 

Last, if you already don’t have one for your RCFE, a California RCFE employee handbook will formalize roles and expectations within your facility.

Addressing Evolving Needs Through RCFE Staff Training

The field of eldercare continues to evolve. New research, technologies, and best practices emerge regularly, and RCFEs must adapt to these changes to provide the best possible care.

assisted living administrator certification as a way to improve elder care

Staff training is the vehicle through which RCFEs can stay up-to-date with the latest developments in senior care. 

Training programs can be tailored to address specific challenges, such as caring for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or implementing person-centered care approaches. 

By keeping staff informed and equipped with the latest knowledge and skills, RCFEs can help ensure they provide the most effective care possible.

Supporting Residents with Dementia

Dementia is a common condition among elderly residents in RCFEs, and caring for individuals with dementia requires specialized training. In California, RCFEs must provide dementia-specific training to staff members who work with residents diagnosed with dementia. 

Individuals suffering from dementia are also among the most vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment. Additional training and RCFE leadership presence can help mitigate this as a potential problem.

Appropriate training equips staff with the knowledge and tools to create a dementia-friendly environment, manage challenging behaviors, and engage residents in meaningful activities. Proper training in dementia care not only enhances the quality of life for residents with dementia but also reduces stress and burnout among staff.

Building Ethical and Cultural Competence

In California, RCFEs serve a diverse population, and it is important for RCFE staff to train in cultural competence. Training programs can help staff understand and respect the cultural backgrounds, values, and preferences of residents. 

Additionally, ethics training helps staff members adhere to ethical standards in their interactions with residents and their families. Ethics training includes maintaining confidentiality, respecting resident autonomy, and providing care that aligns with the resident’s wishes and values.

The Role of Ongoing Education

Staff training is not a one-time event; it is an ongoing process. The elderly care industry is dynamic, and staff members need to continuously update their knowledge and skills to provide the best care possible.

Ongoing education ensures that staff remain current with the latest research and practices in eldercare. 

a checklist of benefits from RCFE staff training in California

Appropriate training also allows staff members to refresh their knowledge on critical topics like infection control, emergency preparedness, and first aid. RCFEs should invest in regular training and development opportunities to support their staff’s growth and competence.

The Benefits of Training for RCFE Staff 

  • Improved resident outcomes 

Properly trained staff can provide more effective care, leading to better health outcomes and an improved quality of life for residents.

  • Regulatory compliance 

Meeting training requirements ensures that an RCFE maintains their license and operates legally, avoiding fines and penalties.

  • Reduced turnover 

Training promotes professionalism and employee satisfaction, reducing staff turnover rates and ensuring a more stable workforce.

  • Enhanced reputation 

RCFEs that invest in staff training are more likely to have a positive community reputation, attracting more residents and families.

  • Greater resident satisfaction 

Residents and their families are more likely to be satisfied with the care provided when staff members are well-trained and knowledgeable.


The importance of staff training in RCFEs in California is hard to overstate. It is central to providing high-quality care to the state’s growing elderly population. As an assisted living administrator, one of your primary roles is ensuring training requirements are met and updated policies are understood and adhered to.

Proper training ensures the safety and well-being of residents, promotes regulatory compliance, and builds the professionalism of staff members. 

Moreover, ongoing education allows RCFE staff to stay current with the latest developments in eldercare and address the evolving needs of residents. 

To help you stay up-to-date, subscribe to an RCFE Regulation Update Service (per Health & Safety Code Section 1569.155) to stay current on changes to regulatory requirements and DSS policies.

an rcfe administrator attending required training in California

As California’s elderly population continues to expand, RCFEs need to prioritize staff training as an investment in the health and well-being of their residents, the success of their facilities, and the overall improvement of eldercare. 

By supporting staff through comprehensive training programs, your RCFE can continue to meet the increasing demand for senior care services with excellence and compassion.

Who is Assisted Living Education? 

If you’re launching an assisted living facility, seeking RCFE staff training solutions, or leveling up your skills to become an RCFE administrator, Assisted Living Education is here to help. 

We hold official certification as a vendor in California, providing an array of state-approved educational options and expert advice. Reach out to us now to explore how we can aid you in reaching your aspirations.

What to Know Before Buying an RCFE

As America ages, it goes without saying that the assisted living business will be blooming for years to come. Buying an RCFE is an enticing venture. It’s no wonder we see new facilities popping up all around us – most of them doing quite well. 

Investment groups and private owners are buying existing homes, building out new locations, and/or expanding the facilities they already have – all to meet the ever-growing demand.

Before Buying an RCFE

There is a wealth of information to consider when delving into the world of purchasing an RCFE (Residential Care Facility for the Elderly)

Acquiring an existing RCFE and anticipating a guaranteed profit is considerably more challenging than it may initially seem. However, with astute decision-making and a well-informed approach to the purchase, it has the potential to become a judicious and lucrative investment.

In this article, we will look at many of the questions you should be asking yourself and your advisors during the evaluation process of purchasing an existing RCFE.

Starting an Assisted Living Business

Indeed, there are many trips and traps when buying an RCFE. Of course, we all know that not all RCFE’s are created equal. Still, you have to ask yourself; where do I start, what should I be looking for, and what are the major red flags?

Suffice it to say, there are many factors you must take seriously as well as a number of pitfalls – and, yes, as they say; “the devil is in the details.” When it comes to purchasing an RCFE, sometimes referred to a Board and Care Facility, or Assisted Living Home, you’ll need guidance and a solid strategy. 

Additionally, you or your RCFE administrator will need an assisted living administrator license

First things first – you need to know what you are looking for.

What Size and Type of RCFE Would You Like to Purchase?

Let’s get the terms straight, so we are all on the same page here. What are the differences between an RCFE, Assisted Living Home, Rest Home, and Board and Care Facility? Essentially, they are all the same type of facility, just older terms being used. As far as the State of California is concerned, when it comes to licensing, the facility is an RCFE. All of these facilities must have the RCFE License to operate legally.

Before buying an RCFE, you should determine the size and type

Out in the real world, most RCFEs are smaller, with under 15-beds, and most are privately owned, often the owners live nearby.. The larger Assisted Living facilities generally have corporations and investment company owners. These facilities are easily recognizable and usually come with private apartments (rooms) and different resident packages.

Licensed RCFEs can provide non-medical assistance such as eating, incontinence care, dressing, personal hygiene, ambulation assistance, and supervision and observation. Staff can also assist with self-administration of medications as prescribed by a physician. These facilities are not required to have a physician  or licensed nurses on their staff.

Consider Why the Owner is Selling Their Facility in the First Place

If Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly are such a good business model, then why on earth is the owner selling?


Do they have multiple facilities and want to sell their less attractive facility, while keeping their flagship or profitable operations? Are the owners retiring themselves and don’t have heirs to take over the business, thus, just want to cash out? Is the facility rundown? Maybe owners don’t wish to invest in needed upgrades. Is the facility borderline and worried about licensing requirements and future inspections? Has the RCFE ever been licensed?


Has the facility been cited before for lapses in their mandatory compliance or is it at risk of license revocation? Have the owners been called into formal administrative hearings for non-compliance? Title 22 regulations are serious business; is the facility in chronic violation? How does the facility handle its compliance obligations and record-keeping? It’s easy to get into the ‘digital record-keeping doghouse’ in CA, a place no RCFE wants to be. Does the facility have a good reputation with the DSS – Department of Social Services? These are  a lot of questions, but these are all good things to know before you start making any offers.


It’s also important to look at the current residents and staff and their living/work conditions. 

Does the facility look clean? If you were a state inspector would you pass it for health and safety? What do their records show from previous inspections? Has the facility been paying the staff properly and recording overtime in a legitimate fashion? Are all members of the staff legal US citizens or have work VISAs? 

Again, if everything is on the up-and-up, try and gain an understanding as to why the owner is parting ways with their investment and make sure that they are not trying to pass on their pitfall to a new unsuspecting owner.

Remember: You are Buying an RCFE Business Not Just Real Estate

Yes, while it is true that real estate can be a good investment over time and a hedge against future inflation, buying an RCFE is more about buying a business.

Buying an RCFE is buying a business not just real estate

Real Estate Considerations

Real estate should be a secondary consideration. In fact, if you separate out the two, and look at real estate as one investment and the business as the other, you’ll have a clearer picture. Can real estate stand on its own merit as a viable investment; long-term hold, or fix and flip? Can you afford to buy and hold the real estate if the RCFE doesn’t make a profit on its own?

Post-Purchase Considerations

How will you pay for it all if you lose the residents due to the change in ownership? There will be some attrition when new owners take over, the average is 20-30% – can you deal with that, at a time when you are planning to spend on new upgrades? 

What is your plan and do you have what you need to execute it? What if all the residents move out? Will the sellers consider a ‘claw back’ clause in the purchase agreement in the case that happens? Will the current owners stay on board for a while ensuring a smooth transition? Are the current owners a problem, perhaps you don’t want them anywhere near the facility?

Location Considerations When Buying an RCFE

How is the neighborhood? Are the surrounding neighbors happy with the facility? Have there been issues? Will they turn-out and speak against your future plans of expansion, upgrades or filings at the local planning commission as you try to get your construction or remodeling projects approved?

If the neighborhood itself is rundown, will this prevent you from attracting residents? Could this prevent you from commanding a fair and reasonable market price for those who come to stay?

Is the RCFE Profitable?

Another  important factor to evaluate is if the facility is currently financially stable.  Consider if most of the residents are SSI (Supplemental Security Income) residents. 

Consider this: You should bear in mind that once SSI residents are in place, eviction becomes virtually impossible, and significant price increases are also unlikely. If the facility is currently not profitable or barely breaking even, how will you manage future expenses for repairs, upgrades, and compliance with upcoming regulations?

Expansion and Cash Flow

Before making a decision, consider the following aspects: Will expanding the facility lead to improved revenue? Are you able to renovate and add-on to the facility? Can you finance these changes from the cash flow generated by the business?

Take a close look at the cash flow and payment timeliness of the residents. Are payments made promptly, or do some pay late? Have the current owners allowed late payments in the past? Are all residents paying similar rates, or have special deals been made for a few of them? Ensure all payments are legitimate, as off-the-books cash payments can complicate revenue proof and financing during your purchase.

Additionally, assess the involvement of the current owners and their family members. If family members are working, are they being paid as regular employees, and is this properly accounted for? Be prepared for possible changes in costs when you take over, especially if you need to hire more staff to maintain the same level of care for the residents.

If you plan on substantial upgrades, research local building codes, restrictions, and zoning regulations for Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly in the specific area of the city. Keep in mind that California cities often have specific rules and building codes for such facilities.

By thoroughly examining these factors, you can make a well-informed decision when considering the purchase of an RCFE.


What other competition is in the area? Are there new, larger corporate-owned Assisted Living facilities opening nearby, offering low-introductory deals? 

In essence, can you compete effectively with the well-established giants? – These well-financed RCFE’s have spacious, modern facilities, lots of amenities, cost advantages due to economies of scale, paid referral recruitment programs, and prime locations.

If the business is currently profitable, fully compliant with regulations, and has a robust strategic plan, there is a good chance it can compete even in the face of such formidable competition.

Are the RCFE’s Facilities Well Maintained?

Title 22 provides specific guidelines for licensing Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs). In particular, Title 22, section 87303 outlines the requirements for Maintenance and Operations of these facilities. Inspections occur annually, and failure to comply can lead to significant problems. A facility wants to avoid being labeled as ‘problematic’ by an inspector, as this reputation spreads quickly and can escalate out of control.

When considering the purchase of an Assisted Living Home, Board and Care Facility, or RCFE, it is essential to meticulously scrutinize the facility as if you were a Licensing Program Analyst from DSS.

Remember, once you purchase the facility, any of the existing problems with the building structure you see, will instantly become yours.

Can I Just Buy a Home and Turn It into an RCFE?

Yes, this is another option.

Starting an assisted living business involves obtaining licensing, which takes time to complete before the facility can become operational. To embark on this path, you’ll need a comprehensive business plan and the guidance of an experienced consultant who has navigated this process before – someone who understands the challenges that lie ahead.

Starting a new RCFE requires more initial working capital, but you won’t have to bear the cost of ‘goodwill’ or pay a multiple of the annual gross revenue, as is the case when purchasing an existing RCFE. You must factor in the expenses and time associated with RCFE licensing, hiring staff, marketing efforts, and implementing a top-notch compliance system.

The main advantage of starting anew is the freedom to build the facility according to your vision, incorporating the most efficient and modern methodologies. This is indeed achievable with the right approach. If executed correctly, it could prove to be the best option for you. Take some time to contemplate this option while exploring the market and examining the available RCFEs for sale.

Final Thoughts

We know that we have provided more questions than answers in this article. This was by design. 

Embarking on a journey to purchase an RCFE is one filled with questions that need to be answered and sometimes the hardest part is knowing what the right questions to ask are

Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into that.   If you find that you still need further guidance and/or consulting, our expert team is here to help you. Good luck and happy shopping!

Assisted Living Education is the leading provider of  RCFE license application services, classes, products and services for assisted living. Our teachers are industry professionals with years of experience, engaging, entertaining and highly informative.

People Also Ask: 

Who regulates RCFE in California?

The California Department of Social Services (DSS), Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD), and Continuing Care Contracts Branch regulates RCFEs and is responsible for periodic inspections to ensure compliance with California law.

Is RCFE the same as a board and care?

Residential Care Facilities are non-medical facilities for seniors that can include assistance with everyday living activities.

Proper nutrition for RCFE residents in California

Why Proper Nutrition is Critical for RCFE Residents in California

Whether you’ve already received your RCFE administrator certification, currently help care for individuals in a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE), or are about to start an assisted living business, supplying RCFE residents with tasty, nutritious meals should top your priority list. 

Without the foundation of appropriate nutrition, the important people under your care can’t fully enjoy the activities, special events, and social opportunities you provide to enrich their lives. Good nutrition enhances the joys of daily living.

This article explores the importance of proper nutrition for seniors and points out some of the roadblocks to healthy eating caused by the aging process. One focus will be to offer some suggestions on how to implement nutritious meals that will entice appetites for residents. The article will also briefly discuss California’s nutritional requirements for  senior residential facilities under Title 22 regulations.

Focus on the Importance of Good Nutrition for RCFE Residents in California

Can nutritious meals and snacks help maintain cognitive acuity among residents? According to the National Institute on Aging, eating healthy foods can indeed affect brain health. While many other factors, such as exercise, stress reduction, and social interactions, also play a part, research suggests a nutritious diet helps maintain a healthy brain as you age.

Some other benefits of good nutrition that can promote healthful aging and maintaining quality of life:

  • More energy and confidence to participate in activities and try new things
  • Increased immunity to illness and faster recovery if sickness does strike
  • Improved control over chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease
  • Enhanced mental abilities and focus

All RCFE staff members need to comprehend the importance of meeting the nutritional needs of the seniors under their care. On-the-job-training, as well as RCFE administrator certification classes, provide helpful nutritional strategies and materials to share with members of the care team.

Understand How Aging Impacts Appetites and Good Nutrition

As people age, changes in  physical and mental abilities can rob seniors of enjoyment of food and decrease their desire to eat  on a daily basis. Since each person is different, and events such as illness or trauma can affect impairments, not all seniors experience the same issues. 

Assisted living seminars can help RCFEs understand how aging impacts good nutrition

Some common roadblocks to eating a nutritious diet may include:

  • Loss of taste, smell, or sight that makes food  uninviting
  • Dental problems that interfere with chewing and eating
  • Medications that affect the taste of food, desire to eat, and the absorption of nutrients
  • Lack of mobility and exercise that stimulates hunger
  • Illnesses that affect appetite

Unraveling the underlying causes behind a resident’s waning interest in food or eating is vital in addressing the issue. Devising a strategy to make the food more inviting becomes easier when you understand the problem the individual is experiencing. When residents are new to the facility, it is important to do everything possible to help seniors adjust to an RCFE.

Finally, make sure to follow recommendations from each resident’s physician for providing supplements such as vitamins and minerals. Consulting the doctor becomes important if an individual refuses to eat certain types of nutritious foods needed in the diet.

Keep Title 22 Nutritional Regulations in Mind

The California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division is responsible for regulations pertaining to RCFE’s.  This  includes Assisted Living Manager Certification. Specific rules in the California Code of Regulations Title 22, as well as the Health and Safety Codes, govern RCFE operations, including food service. Some rules vary slightly with the number of residents the facility accommodates.

Some examples of food service regulations include requirements to serve residents three meals a day, with some exceptions on weekends and holidays, and to make snacks available between meals. The code also requires the facility to designate a specific dining area to encourage socialization among residents during mealtime. In addition, RCFE staff must follow the orders of each resident’s physician in preparing meals and snacks.

Create Positive Dining Adventures for Residents

When seeking to improve the dining experience, it’s essential to rely on an engaged assisted living manager. Although the administrator may delegate meal planning and preparation to other staff, input from the manager is vital. The ability to listen and empathize with both employees and residents is especially important so everyone involved can brainstorm ideas to improve the nutrition and taste of daily meals. This is what makes a good assisted living manager invaluable

create a positive dining experience for RCFE residents in California

The possibilities for making mealtimes fun are endless and can involve everyone. Changing the venue, such as an outdoor picnic in good weather, or developing a unique theme for the day or  week can add interest to mealtime. 

To avoid overwhelming the staff, encourage residents to get involved with details such as recipe research, decorations, or special music during mealtimes.

Realize the Importance of Tantalizing Menus and Tasty Food

Before you say “yes’ to accepting a new resident, interview the person and ask about food preferences. Do they have a special diet and can you accommodate it? Can you provide a gluten free or dairy free diet? Does the potential resident only eat pancakes? You want to know the food habits of this person so you do not disappoint them once they move in. 

Building anticipation for upcoming meals among your residents can help whet their appetites. Posting daily menus with vivid descriptions can arouse interest and help residents look forward to mealtimes. Make the food sound delicious and interesting but don’t over-promise, or residents may feel disappointed.

RCFE residents in California are helped with well prepared food that is visually pleasing.

Remember that each well-prepared and delicious meal encourages your residents to look forward to the next meal. Thoughtful seasonings, well-prepared entrees and sides, and attractive garnishes and presentations all add to the dining experience.

Recognize Individual Tastes and Preferences

In pursuit of providing excellence within an RCFE, it’s vital to pay attention to the individual needs of each resident. Acknowledge that while some residents find solace in the familiarity of their favorite foods, others yearn for the excitement and novelty of new flavors and taste experiences. Additionally, working around the loss of physical senses, such as taste or sight, and the negative effects of medications experienced by some residents also pose challenges.

Attempting to cater to diverse preferences requires a thoughtful and adaptable approach. Engaging in open dialogue with residents allows caregivers to gain invaluable insight into individual preferences and any sensory limitations residents may have. 

Such conversations allow for tailored meal planning and preparation that strikes a harmonious balance between familiarity and culinary exploration, taking into account each resident’s individuality. Such an approach ensures that dining experiences within the RCFE are pleasurable, nourishing and fulfilling for every individual under the facility’s care.

Help Your Residents Deal With Dietary Restrictions

When you show empathy and help seniors adjust to an RCFE, it encourages them to enjoy their meals and practice good nutritional habits. This becomes especially important if the resident has to deal with dietary restrictions. Listening and acknowledging their feelings of frustration and sadness is a good first step.

Residents in California RCFEs can have many dietary restrictions.

Once you have gained the individual’s confidence, discuss possible ways to improve the taste of the foods they are allowed to eat. Encourage ideas from the resident and respect the individual’s feelings and decisions. If necessary, consult the resident’s physician for advice and possible modifications to the diet.

Keep Up the Fight for Good Nutrition

Preparing tasty menus, encouraging reluctant eaters, following regulations and physicians’ orders requires diligence and hard work. As you see the results of your efforts pay off with healthier and more involved residents you experience the satisfaction of happy residents and families..

Assisted Living Education is Here to Support You

Whether you require an initial RCFE Certification, RCFE and ARF Administrator Certification classes, or help with your licensing application to start an assisted living business, we are here to help you. If you have questions or other needs, contact us today. 

how California rcfe administrators can use effective communication

California RCFE Administrators: The Power of Effective Communication in Residential Care

Good communication skills are necessary for any career field. However, California RCFE Administrators must employ these skills at a high level to provide quality care. Resident care administrators interact with many different people every day, each of which may factor into daily operations. These people include residents, families of residents, staff, supervising agents, and members of the community.

In this article, we will discuss why communication is so crucial in RCFEs and provide actionable tips for communicating with residents, their families, and staff members.

What Role Does Communication Play in RCFEs?

As you might imagine, communication is exceedingly important in a healthcare setting. Effective communication is ultimately the catalyst that ensures the smooth operation of your RCFE. 

Communication is effective when a message is received, understood as intended, and shared at the appropriate time. Effective communication is a skill that both administrators and staff members should possess to provide the best care.

Quality communication ensures quality of care in several different ways:

  1. Enhances resident care – Effective communication helps ensure that residents receive the care and attention they need. By listening to residents and their families, staff and administrators can better understand their needs and preferences, which can then be incorporated into individual care plans.
  2. Builds trust – Open and honest communication builds trust between residents, their families, and RCFE staff members. Trust is essential to creating a positive environment where residents feel comfortable and safe.
  3. Improves resident satisfaction – When residents feel that their voices are heard, and their needs are being met, they are more likely to feel satisfied with their living arrangements. This, in turn, can lead to improved mental and physical health outcomes.
  4. Increases family involvement – Clear communication with family members can help keep them informed about their loved one’s care and increase their involvement in decision-making processes. This can help to reduce stress and anxiety for family members and improve overall satisfaction.

Quality communication at an RCFE is key to retaining residents and staff.

A fundamental goal of all California RCFE administrators should be clear and effective communication. Communication plays a vital role in ensuring that residents feel heard and valued and that their needs are being met with. Furthermore, clear and open communication with staff members can help promote a positive work environment and improve overall job satisfaction.

Implementing Effective Communication

So, how does an administrator employ these skills? An effective administrator will determine the atmosphere and mood of their facility simply by the way they carry themselves and go about their daily duties. 

Although effective communication can manifest itself in many ways and may look different in various situations, an effective administrator will approach day-to-day tasks with genuineness and the betterment of staff and residents in mind.

Here are some tips on how to effectively communicate with residents and their families:

  1. Be available – Make yourself available to residents and their families. This can mean spending time with residents during mealtimes, participating in activities with them, or simply being available to talk and listen to their concerns.
  2. Listen – Good communication requires one to listen well. Take the time to listen to residents and their families. Ask open-ended questions, show empathy, and take their concerns seriously.
  3. Use clear language – Use clear, jargon-free language when communicating with residents and their families. Avoid using acronyms or technical terms that may be confusing. Some even recommend straying from using the term “facility” when discussing provided care.
  4. Communicate regularly – Regularly communicate with residents and their families to keep them informed about changes in care plans, schedules, or policies. This can be done through regular meetings, newsletters, or email updates.
  5. Be transparent – Be open and transparent with residents and their families. This can help to build trust and reduce anxiety about care decisions.

Here's how California RCFE Administrators can communicate with their residents.

Being honest and transparent with your residents and their family is vital. However, sometimes honesty isn’t well received and must be conveyed gently. Administrators need to understand how to deliver an honest message delicately and concisely for the benefit of residents and families.

Communication and Staff

Good communication goes a long way with RCFE residents and is crucial for managing and interacting with staff members. Effective communication between coworkers is critical in any line of work and necessary to maintain a healthy work environment. 

In a rapidly expanding field, administrators and staff must work and communicate effectively to cater to the ever-changing needs of the senior population. Staying current with your assisted living courses will help you stay current with changing trends in this field.

Here are several reasons why communication between administrators and staff is important:

  1. Providing training – Provide staff members with training on effective communication and RCFE management techniques.  Administrators cannot be in the facility at all times. Staff may need to communicate effectively with emergency personnel and families. This can include RCFE recertification classes, staff training, and other courses about assisted living. 
  2. Encouraging open communication – Encourage staff members to communicate openly and honestly with each other. Open communication can help promote a positive work environment and improve overall job satisfaction.
  3. Setting clear expectations – Set clear expectations for communication between staff members. These expectations can include regular team meetings, daily check-ins, or other forms of communication.
  4. Providing feedback – Provide regular feedback to staff members on their communication skills. This can help to identify areas for improvement and encourage continued growth.
  5. Leading by example – As the administrator, model effective communication techniques for staff members. Such techniques can include active listening, clear and concise language, and empathy.
  6. Managing conflicts – Effective communication can help to prevent conflicts and misunderstandings between staff members. By encouraging open and honest communication, administrators can create an environment where staff members feel comfortable discussing issues and resolving conflicts in a constructive manner.
  7. Maintaining safety and security – Clear and consistent communication is essential for maintaining safety and security in an RCFE. Administrators must communicate safety and emergency procedures, and any changes in policies or regulations to ensure the facility remains safe and secure for residents and staff.

California RCFE administrators should strive to make staff communication a priority.

The facility administrator can only be in so many places at once, so the importance of good communication must also be acknowledged and embodied by staff. Facility staff are the ones directly administering care to residents. 

Effective communication between RCFE administrators and staff is an essential component of facility culture. Residents will receive the best possible care when staff understand the expectations set forth by the administrator. A positive work environment and promoting safety and security within the facility is a result of effective communication.

Empathy is also very important when communicating with residents, staff, and others who may be frequenting the premises. Administrators must be able to put themselves in another’s shoes to understand situations from a different perspective. 

When dealing with an unhappy resident, staff member, or a worried family member, empathy will help you mediate the situation with kindness and compassion. Following these guidelines are part of what makes a good RCFE administrator. 

To stay on top of training requirements to ensure your effectiveness as an administrator, see the continuing education RCFE schedule.

Communication and your RCFE

Effective and efficient communication is critical to the success of any RCFE.   Prioritizing communication with residents, their families, and staff members, administrators can create a positive and supportive environment that promotes high-quality care and job satisfaction. 

Remember to be available, listen, use clear language, communicate regularly, be transparent, provide training, encourage open communication, set clear expectations, provide feedback, and lead by example.

Who is Assisted Living Education? 

If you’re interested in how to  start an assisted living facility or offering RCFE staff training to your employees, Assisted Living Education is here to assist you. As a certified vendor in California, we provide a range of state-approved learning opportunities and guidance to help you fulfill your objectives for California’s assisted living administrator certification. Reach out to us today to discover how we can support you in reaching your goals.

California assisted living administrator certification

Revolutionize Your RCFE: 5 Steps to Maximize Occupancy

The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic still reverberate throughout our state, and its effect is felt in residential care facilities for the elderly as well. Whether you received your California assisted living administrator certification years before anyone heard of this virus, or you are just now pursuing your credentials, you undoubtedly understand many RCFEs still struggle to fill their rooms.

This article examines ways the pandemic has negatively impacted assisted living facilities and discusses some creative techniques to find more leads and increase the number of residents you serve in this new normal. 

You may also want to consider the approaches discussed in the article 7 Ideas for Getting More Clients Into Your RCFE.

RCFE Census Numbers Impact Your Business

Although some California businesses have recovered from the economic devastation of the pandemic, many assisted living facilities in the state have watched their RCFE census levels take a dive. 

Since the RCFE census, or the number of beds occupied on a certain day and time each week, is tied to the amount of money coming in, your census directly affects the bottom line. You must still meet loan payments, utilities, salaries, and other expenses whether your RCFE census is at 60% or 85% of available beds.

If you own or manage one of approximately 83% of California’s RCFEs that cares for 15 or fewer residents, you probably have a pretty good handle on how your home’s census is doing.

Pandemics Change Priorities

Even before COVID-19, safety and wellness were important considerations for prospective residents and their families as they sifted through options.

RCFEs have changed since Covid19

Concerns often focused on quality of care, including measures to prevent accidents, assure good nutrition, and provide exercise opportunities. At the same time, physical surroundings and special amenities often ranked very high when considering a facility.

Once the pandemic hit, beautiful surroundings, gourmet meals, and unique activities suddenly didn’t matter. Media reports highlighted care facility deaths, staff shortages, and visitor restrictions resulting in elderly residents being denied the comfort of family.

Many of these stories still linger with people, causing distrust in all healthcare facilities. If the Centers for Disease Control issue warnings such as the recent one about Candida auris infections at healthcare locations, some people may panic. 

When planning marketing and promotional strategies for your RCFE, it’s important to realize overcoming negative perceptions is a top concern.

A New Normal Necessitates Best Practices and Fresh Strategies

If you are thinking about opening an assisted living facility, improving your current one, or launching an additional location, be sure to review 10 Steps to Open an RCFE in California

Even with experience, the importance of selecting the right director with assisted living administrator certification, for example, is important to go over again.

Assisted living best practices in California

As you strive to build trust and confidence in your RCFE as a safe haven offering assistance with daily living while helping residents maintain independence, it is vital to remember these points:

  • Adult children are more involved than ever in finding the right RCFE for parents.
  • Improving the image of your assisted living home is necessary.
  • A positive attitude sets the tone for everyone involved.

While you want to put the best possible light on your RCFE, its staff, and the great care it offers, it is vital to remain honest and transparent. Work hard on every area of your RCFE and use the following ideas to highlight what you offer and deliver:

1. Revisit Your RCFE Mission Statement

Your RCFE mission statement makes a great tool to address negative perceptions of healthcare facilities and emphasize the safe, home-like environment you offer in a concise, positive way. 

The mission statement should reflect your facility’s unique strengths, values, and respect for residents and their families. Think about how it can address post-pandemic concerns by including positive attributes:

  • Welcoming
  • Safety plans in place
  • Emphasis on resident independence
  • Open communication
  • Warm, caring, and respectful involvement of staff and residents

Once you develop your mission statement and adjust it based on input from stakeholders, share it in a prominent place in your facility, post it on social media, and include it in promotional materials.

2. Design Structured Tours for Prospects and Families

You only have one chance to make a good first impression so avoid off-the-cuff tours whenever possible. Your website and social media accounts can welcome prospects, families, and interested individuals on tours while still encouraging an online appointment system.

RCFE administrator conducting a tour

You should also have a system for handling unexpected drop-ins in a welcoming but organized manner.

RCFE tour plans should include these important elements:

  • Printed map of the facility, brochures, and other handouts
  • List of tour stops
  • Points to address
  • Staff members to introduce
  • Training completed by employees

You may also hold helpful presentations to bring community members and adult children concerned about aging parents into your facility. Topics such as Tips To Help Seniors Adjust to an RCFE provide valuable information.

3. Assign a Staff Member To Communicate With Each Resident’s Family

One of the chief pandemic-induced concerns for families of prospects involves keeping in close touch once the loved one becomes a resident. 

Offering an optional program where care staff shares a weekly brief email or phone text with a family member can help overcome this fear. For example, a nursing assistant might share a photo of the resident participating in an activity.

While this program involves some organizational and training time, it builds trust with families and improves bonds between staff and residents.

4. Prioritize Staff Evaluations and Expand Training

While many certifications and assisted living courses are mandated by the California Department of Social Services, carrying out regular staff evaluations, selecting the best-required training available, and implementing additional in-house training to improve employee skills all help raise your staff’s performance to the next level. 

Promote your employees’ continuing education RCFE schedule on your website and honor staff who complete assisted living courses on social media and during tours.

5. Build Relationships With People and Organizations Who Refer Prospects

As you look for ways to grow your RCFE, it’s important to realize referrals can come from many different sources:

  • Hospital discharge planners
  • Medical clinics and physical therapists
  • Current and former residents and their families
  • Current and former employees
  • Frequent visitors

RCFE administrators can build relationships to find new leads

It’s important to cultivate relationships with these resources, express gratitude when they send prospects to you, and reciprocate when they need help.

Take Creative Steps Now To Improve Your RCFE Census

Finding new leads and increasing the resident population requires time, work, and the commitment to try out new ideas in a world that is not the same as it was just a few years ago. At Assisted Living Education, we stand ready to provide the highest-quality training, licensing assistance, and growth strategies available. 

Who is Assisted Living Education?

If you’re looking to start an assisted living facility or provide RCFE staff training for your employees, Assisted Living Education can help. We are a certified vendor in California offering  a variety of state-approved learning opportunities and guidance to help you meet your California assisted living administrator certification objectives. Contact us today to see how they can support you in achieving your goals.

running a successful RCFE

Running a Successful RCFE in a Post-Pandemic World

As the world slowly recovers from the pandemic, many industries, including residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs), have had to adapt to new protocols and guidelines to ensure the safety of their residents and staff. Assisted living administrators are the first line of defense in ensuring protective protocols are applied to RCFE facilities.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, RCFE residents have been heavily impacted by the virus. In Los Angeles County, for example, almost four times as many RCFE residents have tested positive compared to RCFE staff.

The elderly are especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. The nature of facilities with large numbers of individuals living close to each other contributes to the vulnerability of residents. 

Compared to staff, this high ratio of infected residents highlights residents’ vulnerability within the RCFE ecosystem. Staying on top of post-pandemic protocols will help you keep your RCFE as safe as possible.

RCFE post pandemic protocols for seniors

In California, the Department of Social Services (DSS) has released updated guidelines and protocols for RCFEs in response to the pandemic. 

Ensuring your RCFE remains up to date on the latest protocols will help you protect your clients and your staff, as well as keep your RCFE up to code. Need help keeping your staff informed? Contact us.

In this article, we will discuss these post-pandemic protocols for RCFEs in California.

Screening of Residents and Staff

One of the most important protocols is screening residents and staff for COVID-19 symptoms. RCFEs must screen all staff and residents daily for symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Daily screening is not required for visitors.

This protocol includes screening for potential exposure to COVID-19, such as contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. Any staff or residents who exhibit symptoms or have been exposed to the virus must be isolated and tested immediately.

Screening can be done passively. This can be accomplished by:

  • Posting signs at RCFE entrance points to remind people to self-screen and not to visit the RCFE if they have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing any symptoms.
  • Exclude any visitors from entering who display COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Educating visitors on methods of self-screening before entering the facility
  • Sending information about COVID-19 self-screening information, including symptoms.

Notably, diagnostic testing is not required. This is also the case for workers exempt from vaccination for specific medical reasons or personal religious beliefs. Also, if it is decided to make testing mandatory at a given RCFE, testing must include all workers, even if they are already vaccinated.

Diagnostic testing is required for staff who have been in close contact with someone who was COVID-19 positive while infectious. This close contact is defined as being within six feet continuously for at least 15 minutes during a 24-hour period.

How Long Do People Stay Contagious?

Different illnesses present different time windows where infected individuals may be contagious. Staying aware of these time windows will help protect everyone located at your RCFE:

  • COVID-19: 8-10 days (on average). The only way to know for certain if an individual is still contagious is through testing. A positive test tells you someone is still contagious, regardless of how long they have been sick.
  • Flu: 5-7 days
  • RSV (respiratory syncytial virus): 3-8 days

Vaccination Requirements and Recommendations

Vaccination is also an essential component of post-pandemic protocols for RCFEs in California. The state requires all staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 (except for those with medical or religious exemptions). Staff must have had their primary series vaccination and one booster.

ensure workplace safety for your successful RCFE

While it is strongly encouraged, it is not required for staff to be fully up to date on boosters. Additionally, residents are not required to be vaccinated, although it is also encouraged.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Another important protocol is the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). RCFEs must ensure that staff have access to PPE, such as masks, gloves, and face shields, as appropriate. 

Additionally, as an RCFE administrator, it is important to establish workplace safety for your RCFE by ensuring staff receive training on the proper use of PPE and that PPE is properly disposed of after use.

Masking requirements serve as an important layer of protection. For visitors and staff:

  • Must wear when in indoor settings (unless eating or drinking)
  • Required when located with residents who are in isolation
  • Encouraged (but not required) in outdoor settings
  • Mask requirements do not change due to vaccination status
  • The most effective masks are the N95, KN95, or KF94

Cleaning and Disinfecting

RCFE administrators need to ensure their facilities adhere to strict cleaning and disinfecting protocols. High-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, and handrails, must be cleaned and disinfected regularly. 

Additionally, common areas, such as dining rooms and lounges, must also be cleaned and disinfected regularly. RCFEs must ensure that all equipment and relevant supplies, such as blood pressure cuffs, are cleaned and disinfected each time they are used.

When a client has a communicable disease, areas the client may have impacted must be cleaned and disinfected. Additionally, proper cleaning should occur after personal contact with a client who has a communicable disease.

Social Distancing

Social distancing is another valuable protocol for RCFEs. Facilities should consider distancing between persons to enable individuals to maintain a safe distance from others, both inside and outside the facility for those who are:

  • Not vaccinated
  • Have not yet received an available booster, and are eligible
  • Have an unknown vaccination status

Social distancing should be enabled to the extent it is feasible.

post pandemic post reporting at RCFEs

Group activities should be conducted with these recommendations in mind, again to the extent such precautions are feasible. Additionally, staff should be trained on the proper use of social distancing measures and how to communicate the importance of social distancing to residents.

Reporting Requirements

As of March 13, 2023, facilities no longer need to report when a single resident tests positive for COVID-19.

Isolate for 5 Days

The resident that has tested positive needs to self isolate for a minimum of 5 days. The resident may leave isolation only if they have no symptoms or symptoms are mild/improving AND they have had no fever for 24 hrs without the aid of a fever-reducing medication. The person should wear a well-fitting face mask for 10 days.

Leaving Isolation

The person leaving isolation may remove their mask sooner than day 10 if they have no symptoms or symptoms are mild or improving and they are fever free without the use of a fever-reducing medication. They also need 2 sequential negative tests one day apart.


If 3 or more residents are positive for COVID-19, then reporting to the appropriate authorities for an outbreak must still occur.

These reporting requirements help to track the spread of the virus and ensure that appropriate measures are taken to prevent further transmission.

Training and Education

Finally, RCFEs must ensure that staff receive training and education on COVID-19 protocols and procedures. 

Staff should be trained on the proper use of PPE, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, social distancing measures, and how to screen residents and staff for symptoms of COVID-19. Knowledge of the most recent training requirements will be necessary to obtain your RCFE licensure.

Running a successful RCFE training post covid

Additionally, RCFE administrators must ensure ongoing education and training are provided to staff as new information and guidelines become available. Ongoing education efforts are important to ensure workplace safety for your RCFE.

The Provider Information Notice (PIN) contains additional information regarding COVID-19 policies. Specifically, this PIN notice has further instructions covering new visitation guidance, with related clarifications and other safety information.

California RCFEs are required to subscribe to an RCFE regulation update service.

Pandemic Protocols for Assisted Living Administrators

In conclusion, post-pandemic protocols for RCFEs in California focus on screening residents and staff for COVID-19 symptoms, vaccination, the use of PPE, cleaning and disinfecting, social distancing, reporting requirements, and staff training and education. 

These protocols are essential to facilitating the safety and well-being of RCFE residents and staff. By adhering to these protocols, RCFEs can help prevent the further spread of the virus and protect the vulnerable populations residing at RCFEs.

To help stay on top of changing requirements and to keep your licensure requirements current, continuing education RCFE classes are now required to include 20 hours Live and 20 hours online as of March 1, 2023. available online.

Assisted Living Education 

If you want to ensure that your facility meets regulatory compliance and provides top-quality care to its residents, then you need to work with an approved vendor who can offer comprehensive RCFE administrator certification courses and staff training. 

That’s where Assisted Living Education comes in – we’re here to help you stay up-to-date with the latest regulations, provide ongoing support and consultation services, and make sure that your staff is trained to deliver the best possible care. 

Don’t wait to take the next step in improving your facility – contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

how to get RCFE certification in California

Become a Senior Care Expert: Your Path to RCFE Certification in California

There is no secret that a career in the senior care industry can be very rewarding — both personally and professionally. The senior care field offers plenty of benefits, such as job stability and the potential for growth, but getting an RCFE certification is often a crucial step towards gaining employment or owning a facility. 

Aspiring caregivers must have an understanding of the legal requirements associated with this certification process if they want to become RCFE-certified professionals. 

This article is an overview of the preliminary measures to consider before becoming RCFE certified in preparation to work for an RCFE or to start your own RCFE. 

Clarify Your Goals and Purpose for RCFE Certification

Before you move ahead with your plans, it’s important to know what you want to achieve by owning or managing an RCFE. Additionally, it’s helpful to do some self-reflection to understand why you want to pursue this path. Administrators and RCFE owners often list personal experiences or deep convictions as motivation to run an assisted living facility. Other reasons include:

  • A positive experience caring for a family member or friend
  • Satisfying employment as a caretaker or other position at an RCFE
  • A desire to help others and make a difference
  • Confidence in running a successful business

clarify goals and purpose for RCFE certification

If you’re not quite sure of the role you want to pursue in running an RCFE, mind mapping can help get your thoughts and ideas down on paper. Once you pinpoint a definite goal, such as working as an RCFE administrator, you can move on to the steps you must take to reach your objective.

Research Information and Explore the Field

If you’re feeling some apprehension about taking the next step, the act of gathering all the facts and knowing exactly what you need to do can ease your fears. Learning everything involved in your new endeavor can also provide a reality check to make sure it is a good fit.

Research RCFEs

For example, perhaps you’re thinking about becoming an RCFE owner. You might prepare by reading about five questions to ask before turning your home into an RCFE

Look At Helpful Websites

Trustworthy internet resources provide basic information such as certification requirements, course availability, and testing and licensing fees. 

Since the California Department of Social Services oversees RCFE certification in California, the CDSS website is a good place to start your research for both facility licensing and administrator certification. Take time to examine the various pages and follow the links to get a clear picture of the three necessary steps to get your RCFE license California:

  • Complete a mandatory orientation
  • Fill out the appropriate application
  • Pay the licensing fee

You must register for the required online orientation, which costs $50 for registration and $4.85 for processing. You receive important information about the licensing process during the orientation, but note that once you register, you only have 30 days to finish the online course and print your completion certificate. You can also view the actual application forms, as well as a chart of the RCFE license California fees, which vary according to the size of the facility.

Additionally, the Assisted Living Education blog is an excellent resource for practical tips and timely information about required RCFE classes, RCFE ownership and more. Get informative blog posts by signing up for our newsletter

Investigate Mandatory Course Providers

As part of the procedure in California to become an administrator, you must finish an Initial Certification Training Program offered by an approved vendor, as well as achieve a score of at least 70% on the certification exam given by the CDSS. After meeting these qualifications, you also need to complete an Application for Administrator Certification that includes a $120 processing fee.

As you research the websites of various ICTP providers, you may want to compare some important points:

  • Instructor qualifications and experience
  • Class size
  • Exam preparations
  • Course locations and times
  • Price

Remember that this training program prepares you not only to pass the certification exam but also to successfully carry out your duties once you begin your career as an RCFE administrator or owner. Assisted Living Education is a certified vendor. Certification must be through a certified vendor.

Visit Different RCFE Facilities

California licenses more than 7,400 RCFEs in the state, and they vary greatly in size, location, number of residents and employees, and types of amenities. Make appointments to visit several assisted living homes in your area to see how they differ in their indoor and outdoor environments, activities, food service, and daily schedules. You can learn a lot about the type of facility you would enjoy owning or managing.

Talk to Others in the Field

Job shadowing a working administrator or RCFE owner provides an inside look at your goal of RCFE certification. If job shadowing for a day isn’t possible, an in-depth interview that covers a typical work shift can also prove helpful. Come prepared with a list of questions in order of importance in case the time is short:

  • Why did you decide to become an RCFE administrator?
  • What made you want to start your own assisted living facility?
  • What was the most challenging part of your certification course?
  • What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
  • What is your favorite part of the workday?

Listen carefully to the answers, asking follow-up questions if something isn’t clear. Always send a brief note of thanks after someone has given you time and shared knowledge.

Get Work Experience If Needed

One of your main reasons for pursuing administrator certification or opening your RCFE may hinge on previous employment at an assisted living facility.

Explore and assisted living facility

 If you have never worked at an RCFE or similar type of operation, logging some experience provides many benefits:

  • You’ll find out if this is a good fit for your skills and temperament.
  • You’ll learn exactly what is involved in the daily operations of an RCFE.
  • You’ll gain experience to help you in your certification course and exam.
  • You’ll acquire insight into the aging process and the needs of the elderly.
  • You’ll make friends and contacts in the field.

Take the First Step Toward RCFE Certification

As you identify and work toward your new goals, selecting the right training and people to help you in your quest makes a big difference. Assisted Living Education is a CDSS-approved vendor for the RCFE administrator certification training course. Our experienced instructors present the curriculum you need in an interesting class filled with real-life anecdotes about running an assisted living facility.

You may also want to obtain professional help in completing your application for an RCFE license in California. This is a long, complicated process, and our RCFE license application service can help you get it right. Also, see our popular blog about 10 Steps to Open an RCFE in California for a thorough overview of important steps. 

Assisted Living Education provides a wide range of state-approved learning opportunities and assistance to those seeking RCFE staff training for employees or guidance on starting an assisted living facility. Contact us today to learn how Assisted Living Education can help you meet all your RCFE certification objectives. 

California RCFE license items you should know about

6 Things to Know About RCFE Licensure

Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) serve those who require some level of physical assistance and supervision but do not need around-the-clock medical care.

RCFEs come in several sizes from the large facilities that may have 200 residents to a small home with 6 or less residents. These smaller facilities have a better ability to provide more specialized care because of client to staff ratios of 1 to 3, in most cases.


RCFE licensure parameters x

If you are thinking about opening a new RCFE, you need to know a thing or two about RCFE licensure. 

An RCFE license is required to operate such a facility. All current and prospective RCFE owners and administrators should be familiar with their state’s licensing processes.  

Keep in mind that states individually regulate RCFE requirements. If you are thinking about opening your own RCFE, it’s important to stay current with laws specific to your region. For people in California, there’s a lot that goes into opening a new RCFE facility. If you need help, contact us about  RCFE licensing.

1. Regulation

RCFEs in California are regulated by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) enforces their respective laws and regulations via RCFE licensing and periodic inspections.

Facilities are governed by the California Code of Regulations Title 22, Division 6, Chapter 8 and the California Health and Safety Codes. These regulations provide guidance on topics such as maintenance and operations, resident care standards, resident rights and staff training requirements, to name a few. 

See here for the full California code of regulations.

2. Assisted Living Administrator Certification

All RCFEs have an assisted living administrator. Whether you plan on hiring one or administrating your own facility, this role requires a certificate. 

Assisted living administrators are directly responsible for the care and well-being of RCFE residents. They are also responsible for overseeing operations and supervising other staff members. It goes without saying that having a qualified administrator is vital to a successful RCFE

California law mandates all RCFE administrators to be certified. To become an RCFE administrator, CDSS requires an individual to complete the 80 hour Initial Administrator Certification Course.

This program requires applicants to pass an 80-hour certification course, followed by a state exam with a score of 70% or better. This program covers most aspects of RCFE training, such as regulations, laws, employee requirements, and acceptable vs. unacceptable facility conditions.

assisted living administrator requirements and why they're important

It is important to note that the exam must be completed within 60 days of course completion, and any supplementing paperwork and fees must be submitted within 30 days of passing the exam. 

All RCFE administrator certificate applications must be sent to the California DSS office, and newly issued certificates will be valid for a period of two years.

Administrator Requirements

Aside from certification, administrators must also meet some basic requirements. The CDSS requires the following of administrators: 

  • Administrators must hold a high school diploma or GED to care for 1-15 residents.
  • Administrators must have a minimum of 15 college units and one year of experience to care for 16-49 residents. 
  • Must have two years of college and three years’ experience for a facility with 50 or more residents. 
  • Must pass a criminal background check. 

This process certifies that administrators have the knowledge to oversee an RCFE competently and efficiently. A certified administrator will also provide peace of mind for the respective owner.

3. Facility Licensure

In California, CDSS has a three-part licensure requirement for all facilities.  

To open a new RCFE, you are first required to complete a three-hour orientation. This is a facility-specific component detailing the ins and outs of facility operation. An application for licensure should be submitted subsequently, after you have proven ownership of the facility grounds.


Facility licensure and RCFE application explained

The second part is a one-on-one interview conducted by a state analyst. This part is carried out once the initial application is submitted for review. 

Part three is an on-site survey consisting of category-specific training  This is designed to promote successful facility operation and is conducted prior to licensure finalization. 

The license application is tedious and can be denied if filled out incorrectly. We can help prepare your entire RCFE application and customize  it to your specific needs.

4. RCFE Staff Requirements

Although RCFE caregivers don’t need to be medically competent to the degree of a registered nurse, California does mandate minimal requirements for RCFE staff. California law states that each community must have “sufficient staff at all times and competent to provide the services necessary to meet residential needs.” 

Aside from this broad statement, RCFE staff must meet the following criteria:

  • Staff providing direct care to residents and employees who supervise employees must be at least 18 years of age. 
  • Administrators must be at least 21 years of age.
  • A CPR-certified staff member is required to be on the premises 24/7. 
  • First-aid certifications are required for staffers giving care to residents.  
  • Criminal background checks are required for all facility personnel, along with a health screening and negative tuberculosis test. 
  • Additional employees may be required to perform day-to-day duties such as paperwork, cooking, cleaning, activities, etc.

Since RCFEs do not administer medical care, nurses and doctors are not required to be on the premises. If RCFE staff are caring for residents with dementia, they must have a certain amount of  training hours on dementia to  provide care. 

Also, for similar reasons, RCFEs do not need to abide by regulated staff-to-client ratios. This means that owners need to have a sufficient amount of staff based on residents’ needs.

5. Online Licensure Renewal in California

Per California law, RCFE administrators are required to complete 40 hours of continuing education units every two years, while facility licenses must be renewed annually. This is required to keep facilities and their staff current with new or changing RCFE procedures.


Understand why RCFE licensing is important in California

The Importance of Licensure

Aside from it being required by law, RCFE licenses ensure facilities and staff provide the best care for their residents. Licensure ensures that facilities have the proper space and equipment to operate and that their employees can carry out their duties. These may include but are not limited to: 

  • Assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and mobility.
  • Medication and Health-related services
  • Meals
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Housekeeping services
  • Dementia care

The licensing and training requirements of RCFEs, administrators, and their staff certify that all personnel are capable and competent in their duties. A study by the California Assisted Living Association (CALA) concluded that well-trained RCFE staff were vital to the mental, physical, and emotional health of their residents.

6. The RCFE licensure process

Obtaining a California RCFE license is not a simple process by any means, but the care these facilities provide fills a growing need. 


The National Institute of Health projects America’s elderly population to double over the next three decades and this is especially true in California. Nearly 20% of the state’s entire population is projected to be 65+ by 2030. 


Large capacity RCFE’s become increasingly more desirable among aging adults looking to downsize. These facilities offer a variety of activity choices, dining options and assistance with personal care. 


Families have more options to choose from and care is based on a resident assessment of the specific care the resident needs assistance with. Small facilities, such as a 6-bed, often charge a flat rate that includes room and care.


Both large and small communities have the same goal: to provide care that best suits the needs of the resident. 

Assisted Living Education is the premier provider of RCFE certification, RCFE classes, licensing, products and services for assisted living. Our teachers are experienced  industry professionals that are engaging, entertaining and highly informative. We offer RCFE consulting services and share real RCFE experience that will give you an edge in this growing and highly competitive industry. Contact us today.

how to help seniors adjust to an RCFE

8 Tips to Help Seniors Adjust to an RCFE

If you received assisted living certification and manage or work for a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE), you realize the residents of your community all have different needs, emotions, and temperaments. This becomes evident when you welcome seniors to their new assisted living home. 

While backgrounds and circumstances  may appear similar, no two residents take the same amount of time or assistance to adjust to this new period in their lives.

Acclimating  your newest RCFE community members to their new home and way of life not only benefits them but helps to create a better living environment for existing residents and an improved working atmosphere for staff. Implementing  an adjustment protocol reduces anxiety for residents and gives staff a replicable process to follow. 

Daily routines and activities continue smoothly, and happy residents and their families often become ambassadors for your facility. This article presents tips to ease seniors into their new life in a successful RCFE.

Undertake These 8 Strategies With a Positive Mindset

While some people naturally embrace change more readily, moving from a beloved home to a group facility is difficult for most individuals. 

Remember this important fact: new residents are often mourning losses that not only include their home but also friends and neighbors, health problems, and even their independence. As you take these measures to help seniors adapt, encourage them with an upbeat attitude but also show respect for their grieving.

1. Offer a Pre-Move Meal and Visit

A prospective resident and family may visit your RCFE and several others before deciding to join your assisted living community. Once they make a selection, however, some time may pass before the actual move. 

Inviting the future resident and a guest to meet community members and staff, share a meal in the dining area, and learn where everything is located can accomplish several purposes.

pre-move in meal for RCFE residents

A pre-move meal and visit gives future residents a chance to get comfortable with your facility before the actual transition. The resident can meet neighbors who inhabit nearby rooms, get acquainted with the activity director and administrator, and ask questions about move-in procedures. Since moving day is inevitably fraught with emotions and stress, a preview of the facility can relieve tension.

2. Present a Welcome Basket on Move-In Day

This may sound expensive, but it doesn’t cost much to show your newest resident you care. Include some appropriate snacks, a few travel-size toiletries, a word search or other puzzle book, some postcards to send friends the new address, and an activity schedule.

3. Help Make the Individual’s Room a Personalized Retreat

An adult child or family member often helps the new resident move in and set up the room to include treasured items brought from home. Even in these cases, make sure to stop in during the first weeks to see if the resident needs help rearranging anything or adding an item to feel more comfortable.

better living environment for RCFE residents

If the new arrival doesn’t have anyone to set up the room, ask a staff member to help. Choose an employee with the interest and skills to create a better living environment for residents. Making a new resident feel safe and comfortable in their private quarters is an essential part of this new transition.

4. Let the New Resident Make Decisions

Seniors often fear moving to an RCFE means loss of independence and the opportunity to make their own decisions. The best way to allay these concerns is to allow them to make choices right away. While staff can help a new community member set up personal space, for instance, the final decisions should rest with the resident unless safety is an issue.

When possible, give the resident several options rather than asking yes or no questions. For example, instead of asking if the person wants to watch the group movie, ask whether they would rather watch the movie, take a walk outdoors, or work on holiday decorations with the craft group. If the individual chooses to stay in the room to read, accept that choice graciously too.

5. Match the New Resident With Mentors Where Possible

Providing an entering resident with a mentor can give the newbie a sense of security. If questions arise, the unfamiliar person knows exactly where to go for an answer. Just as you may have needed assistance with RCFE application processes or help to make your RCFE eco-friendly, new residents often need someone to guide them too.

successful RCFE with happy residents

The feasibility of a mentor program can depend on the size of your facility, but asking an established resident or employee, or both, to help an incoming community member makes adjusting easier. As a staff mentor spends time getting to know the new resident, the employee can also inform other caregivers about any concerns or interests the recent arrival expresses.

6. Find Ways To Keep the New Resident Connected to Favorite Activities

Even in larger RCFEs with a dedicated activity department, it is impossible to plan programs for every hobby or special interest.

This does not mean, however, that you can’t still provide some ways for the new resident to stay linked to a previous pastime. You can harness the power of the internet through YouTube videos, online classes, virtual clubs, and discussion groups.

You may learn, for instance, that a new resident was active in model railroading or weaving rugs before moving to your facility. Perhaps the individual could carry out a limited version of the activity by painting small buildings for railroad layouts or weaving placemats on a small loom. If that isn’t feasible, the hobbyist can still watch videos, participate in online hobby groups, or read library books on the subject.

7. Involve the New Community Member With a Worthy Cause

Helping others or embracing a social movement is one of the best ways to get through a challenging personal situation. If a new resident experiences difficulty adjusting to assisted living, enlist the person’s help with a worthwhile project.

The possibilities are endless, so try suggesting several options that might provide a good match. These could include knitting cozy hats for newborns, writing encouraging letters to prisoners, volunteering at a nearby food pantry, tutoring children in reading, or even spearheading an effort to make your RCFE eco-friendly.


8. Stay Patient and Respect the New Resident’s Timeline

A warm welcome to all new residents when they move into your California RCFE is an important first step. Being available to the new resident as they learn to adjust to living in assisted living is also important. However, each new resident has an individual timetable for adapting, socializing, and getting involved. Be patient and positive but never pushy with recent arrivals.

Wherever You Are in Your Assisted Living Certification Journey, We Can Help

Whether you already have a successful RCFE or need assistance with RCFE application procedures or assisted living certification, we encourage and support you every step of the way. Assisted Living Education provides certification classes, CEU classes, test preparation, manuals, license application services, and other consulting assistance. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

better assisted living manager

4 Powerful Tips for Becoming a Better Assisted Living Manager

Every administrator guiding a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE)  in California has a unique story. Whether you first became involved with caregiving while helping a special relative or working at a local RCFE, making a difference in the lives of seniors is often a motivating factor for obtaining assisted living administrator certification

One thing almost all administrators have in common, however, is a desire to keep progressing and become better at their job.

assisted living manager training tips

As you carry out daily duties in your facility, it soon becomes apparent that improving your performance as an administrator affects many other people and your career. 

Not only are you responsible for the safety and well-being of the residents, but you also influence the lives of your employees, communicate with the families who’ve entrusted loved ones to your care, and interact daily with vendors and state regulators. 

This article dives into some effective actions you can take to enhance the operation of your RCFE and make living, working, and visiting in the facility more satisfying for residents, employees and families.

Assisted Living Administrator Certification Sets the Bar

The Adult and Senior Care Licensing Program of the California Department of Social Services is responsible for the certification of RCFE administrators and for issuing a California RCFE license for assisted living facilities. 

As part of the certification process for administrators, candidates must complete an 80-hour assisted living administrator certification class from a DSS approved vendor and pass the California Initial RCFE Administrator exam.

California initial RCFE exam

When you decide to pursue administrator certification, the topics and discussions covered in the certification class will give you a sound foundation for performing your duties. You  will learn the required skills for operating an RCFE as a business: caring for the residents in your facility, understanding the California laws governing assisted living facilities, and studying the state-required Core of Knowledge. As you strive to enhance your administrative skills, you can build on this information.

Effective Tips Require Effort

These strategies involve more than easy ideas such as starting a book club for residents or putting out a suggestion box. They take some time, planning, and commitment to carry out. Since running an RCFE is both a mission and a business, these methods can help you work on soft skills, such as understanding your residents’ needs, as well as hard skills, including budget creation and employee retention.

1. Build a Support System to Help Your Personal Growth

Each administrator’s support system looks different, but identifying others in the field who can answer your questions, advise you on best practices when you hit a snag, and encourage you to keep going despite setbacks definitely boosts your performance.

RCFE Administrator support system


Although you’ll want to rely on some colleagues who have more experience and knowledge than you, cultivate friendships with others who are in a similar situation and can empathize with your frustrations and struggles. 

You can build supportive relationships with co-workers in many areas of the assisted living field:

  • Instructors and fellow students from your assisted living courses 
  • Administrators in other assisted living facilities nearby or online
  • Contacts in the California Department of Social Services
  • Administrators who work under you, such as the activities director
  • Provider Membership in the California Assisted Living Association

2. Polish Your Communication Skills

The ability to communicate clearly and effectively with various groups of people is vital to your work as the administrator of your assisted living facility. 

You need to build rapport and learn about the needs of your residents and their families, the employees who run the facility, state regulators who keep tabs on your operation, and vendors who are critical in furnishing supplies to keep your RCFE running smoothly.

communication skills for RCFE administrators

Good communication encompasses skills in several important areas:

  • Listening: The most important part of communicating with residents and others involves taking time to focus and to listen to what they are saying.
  • Empathizing: It can become a challenge to put yourself in someone else’s place, especially if you have never experienced what they are going through. Don’t jump to conclusions about what the other person is thinking and feeling, but ask questions to clarify what the individual is experiencing.
  • Soliciting Input: When you listen to stakeholders’ ideas about a situation, you show respect and empower them. This can become a critical component of creating a positive workplace and retaining employees.

3. Lead by Example

Few things turn employees off faster than administrators who make a big deal of implementing a new directive but never follow it themselves. Your employees are watching closely to see if you do what you tell them to do. They respect and support a leader who walks the talk.

When you set an example of living up to the values you promote for your facility, you show trustworthiness. You demonstrate you are serious about the vision you advance, and this builds a desirable work culture and boosts morale. 

Bonus: your leadership skills will attract new employees to your RCFE.

4. Prepare for Emergencies with Alternative Plans

Any administrator who takes steps to open an assisted living facility and obtain a California RCFE license must comprehend the need to create contingency plans for all possible emergencies.

emergency disaster plan at an RCFE

Few situations challenge the abilities of an administrator more than an unexpected crisis. If you want to become a better-assisted living administrator, have an emergency disaster plan in place for any situation that could arise:

  • Critical staffing shortages
  • The outbreak of a contagious illness
  • Interruption of power supplies
  • Severe supply chain issues

Work with your staff and other resources to develop a detailed plan for each situation. Once the process is in place, initiate training for employees and residents. Coordinate teams to work together as necessary and set up a clear communication process.

Don’t forget to contact colleagues in your support system if you have questions or need any advice to work out emergency plans. You may also want to choose online assisted living administrator CEU classes that can help you plan.

Assisted Living Administrator Certification is Just the Start

At Assisted Living Education, we provide the classes and tools to get you on the way to success. Whether you need help with your assisted living certification, obtaining a California RCFE license, or have other online assisted living administrator needs, contact us now to learn how we can assist you.