Symptom Management: Creating a Higher Quality of Care in Assisted Living Facilities

Symptoms are unfortunately prevalent when residents are diagnosed with a disease or condition. Although many symptoms are easily treatable, others are more chronic and can often be debilitating to the resident. Without proper treatment, a resident’s quality of life can decrease. Therefore, intervention by care staff is an important aspect of working in a care community.

Prior research has shown that the number of residents needing symptom and pain management continues to increase significantly since 2012.1

Training care staff to manage resident symptoms

Proper training and medication delegation can assist in managing resident symptoms. This is why ETE trains and mentors care teams to ensure residents are getting the most effective care to assist with and manage symptoms.

Understanding symptoms and pain

  • Acute pain: When a person feels direct pain as a cause of injury, this is referred to as acute pain. Examples of this could be a fall resulting in a broken bone or mishandling of utensils resulting in a wound. This type of pain does not typically last long and will heal over time. Care teams can manage this pain with medication and the symptoms are usually temporary.
  • Chronic pain: This type of pain refers to ongoing affliction and the body will not resolve the problem independently. Arthritis and joint pain are common conditions that cause chronic pain. The pain will manifest in the problem areas which can cause severe discomfort for the resident. Although symptoms can be treated, the ailment is ongoing and will require more intervention from the care staff.
  • Mental health: Not all symptoms manifest from a visual injury; some stem from mental or emotional distress. Anxiety and depression are two examples of how pain caused by mental illness present in residents. Promoting quality of care is one-way care teams can manage these types of symptoms.

Care teams managing symptoms

Communication: Care teams require communication based on inquiry in order to gauge pain levels and types of pain for residents. Asking the right questions can assist in the steps that need to be taken to alleviate pain. Effective communication skills can lessen misconceptions and efficiently provide proper care. 

Medication: Care teams provide the medication required to assist with symptom management. Medication alleviates pain caused by the illness. One way to provide this care efficiently is through medication delegation. Non-licensed CNAs will be given the knowledge to administer medication to residents under the supervision of licensed healthcare professionals. 

Education: Equipping care staff with essential education ensures that required care is being provided to residents. ETE offers several courses to educate care teams on multiple areas to improve the quality of care and efficiency.

Equipping your care team with the knowledge and skills is the cornerstone of safer care. Our free monthly training session, held on the first Tuesday of every month, provides your team with the tools and confidence to help optimize resident well-being within your community.
Each session covers critical topics like medication, compliance, safety, and best practices—while empowering your team to ask questions and solve problems.
Don’t miss this opportunity to help support your residents’ safety and equip your care team with the knowledge and confidence to provide exceptional care. Sign up for our next training or call (512) 923-1045 to learn about our medication management program today! 


    1. Conrad, J. B., Monis, A., & Hooper, E. B. (2019, September). Pain Management in Long-Term Care Facilities: Current Research Trends and Future Direction.


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