Frequently Asked Residential Care Questions

How do I know my loved one needs dementia care?

Diseases such as Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia are progressive, growing more pronounced over time. In the earliest stages, it may be difficult to recognize the difference between common forgetfulness and memory loss. We recommend seniors have regular visits with a primary care physician and discuss any concerns they have.

For those not yet ready for residential care, our Senior Adult Day Program offers support for the family caregiver Monday through Friday. Click to learn more about the James L. West Senior Day Program.

How will I know when is it time to stop caregiving?

It is important to remember that you will never stop caring for your loved one. No matter where your loved is, you are still providing them with the best care. There may come a time when your loved one may need more medical or full-time attention than you are physically able to provide. You will know when and if that time comes.

Remember, placing your loved one in a quality care environment doesn't mean you don't love them. It means you do.

Ask, “What is the best option for my loved one?” Please contact our dedicated and caring staff if you would like help talking through some of the emotions, different options and decisions. The James L. West Center is one of a small number of nursing centers with a Director of Family Support Services who can help families process and manage transitioning loved ones into long-term care.

The stress and exhaustion of caregiving can cause its own physical, emotional and mental health concerns. If you are experiencing any physical symptoms like chronic pain, heart problems, high blood pressure,  anxiety, depression, or insomnia, it is imperative that you see your doctor and treat these symptoms before they become irreversible or chronic problems. Learning how to manage stress and taking advantage of respite services throughout the community will help you be a more effective caregiver. Remember the best way to treat dementia is with a healthy combination of services for the individual with dementia and the caregiver.

Are you a not-for-profit?

Yes. James L. West Center for Dementia Care is a non-profit organization lovingly founded in memory of Mr. James L. West by his widow, Eunice, to support individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Our non-profit status means that we are able to focus all of our resources on our mission rather than serving shareholders.

A major study of nursing home quality in the U.S. and Canada found that not-for-profits consistently delivered better outcomes in four key areas relating to quality:

  • More or higher quality of staffing.
  • Lower prevalence of pressure ulcers.
  • Lower prevalence of restraints.
  • Fewer government citations for deficiencies.

Learn more about the not-for-profit difference.

How long have you been around?

James L. West Center opened its doors in 1993 to serve the Fort Worth community. Since then, our services have grown to include family caregiver and professional caregiver education, day services, and short-term rehabilitation. The Center’s Senior Day Program began in 1987 as a mission of First Presbyterian Church Fort Worth and became part of today’s James L. West Center for Dementia Care at the building’s opening in 1993.

How is your community structured? Do you offer different levels of care?

James L. West Center for Dementia Care is a licensed skilled nursing, Alzheimer’s Certified, facility.  Both our license and certification are provided and regulated by Texas Health and Human Services and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The Alzheimer’s Certification requires more stringent dementia education for our staff and higher staffing ratios than other settings. Our campus is divided into 6 home-like environments, which are specifically designed to support our residents as their dementia symptoms progress. 

The Brazos and Colorado Houses are home to more independent residents who do well in a group setting and require some redirection and assistance. Both Pecos and Red River House residents require more assistance with daily activities and are in the moderate stage of the disease. Trinity House provides the highest level of care for those farthest along in the disease process. The Wichita House is home to the new short-term rehabilitation for people with dementia.

How do your fees work?

Medicare will help cover part of a short-term rehabilitation stay after a qualifying hospital stay.

Long-term care is covered by private funds and/or long-term care insurance.  While we do not accept LTC insurance directly, we will help you seek reimbursement. 

Our fees are all-inclusive of the care and are charged on a per-day rate.  Prescription medications and hair care are extra. 

Contact Admissions to learn more and take the next step in your journey

Do you take Medicaid?

The James L. West Center does not participate in the Medicaid program. Because we are a not-for-profit organization, we do have limited charitable care funds to assist some residents who are not able to pay the full rate through no fault of their own.

Are there ancillary expenses?

Additional expenses are minimal. Prescription medications and specialized medical equipment can be an additional expense. Hair care also is an additional expense. Incontinence products are included in the daily rate for care.

What salon or barber services are available to residents?

PS Salon & Spa is our community salon operator. Through the PS Salon Celebration Account, resident clients earn up to 5% back in rewards toward free services, and families and friends can purchase gifts for residents online. 

View the salon offerings here.

What do I need to provide for my loved one’s room?

Residences come furnished with built-in closets, with drawers and cubbies for personal items, and a hospital style bed. James L. West also provides bed linens and hygiene items. If the resident has a specific brand they prefer to use, the family may provide that item.

The resident and/or their family should provide personal items needed to make the resident comfortable in their new home. While in room televisions are not recommended, families can provide up to a 42-inch television to be mounted to the wall in the resident’s room; television mounts are provided and installed by James L. West.

What types of security do you offer?

James L. West Center entrances are controlled access and each residential house is secured for the safety of our residents.

Can couples live together at James L. West?

Couples can live at James L. West. Both spouses must have a diagnosis of dementia. Depending on their specific needs, both spouses may or may not reside in the same household. Residents are assessed individually to determine where they best fit within the community. Couples may be able to spend the day together even if they do not live in the same household.

Do you offer transportation?

Transportation is provided for those here under Medicare A for short-term rehabilitation.  Other transportation is provided by the resident's family.

Can my loved one go on outings?

Yes! You have the peace of mind to know that our trained team members can help you determine whether an outing is appropriate for your loved one or not on a given day.

Many families take their loved ones out for regular outings and for special family events.  We also provide group outings to local parks, museums, etc., if appropriate based on each individual's ability.

How do you involve family members in a resident’s care programs?

It is important for the family to help us begin to know their loved one through the admission process.  Regular communication is encouraged so that we can provide the best care.  On-going Care Conferences are held with the interdisciplinary team and the family caregiver to best provide the needed care and to maintain open lines of communication regarding changes in condition, health status, etc.

What do you believe are the most beneficial aspects of your care program?

The medical care we provide is focused on comfort and quality rather than curative.  Through our engagement programs, such as art, music therapy and wellness, we focus on the abilities that remain, rather than those lost through the disease process. 

Do you have a Medical Director on staff?

Yes. We have a team of medical directors.

  • Janice Knebl, DO, has been the lead medical director since James L. West's inception. She also serves as the Interim Chair and professor of Internal Medicine & Geriatrics at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and is the Chief Medical Officer.
  • Dr. Sarah Ross is co-medical director. She completed part of her geriatric fellowship training at James L. West in 2010-2011. She has served in the co-medical director role since 2012. She is an associate professor of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • Barb Harty, Nurse Practitioner, has partnered with both physicians to provide on-site care at James L. West since 1997. She is an assistant professor of Internal Medicine & Geriatrics at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Are there RNs or LPNs on staff? Are they on-site 24/7?

The James L. West Center is licensed for skilled nursing by the state of Texas. We staff with RNs, LPNs and CNAs around the clock. This healthcare staffing model sets us apart from other memory care communities, many of which are licensed as assisted living and operate social models of care.

What medical services are available?

James L. West Center’s team of medical professionals includes our medical directors, who see residents as patients on site. Because going to the doctor’s office can be traumatic for a person with dementia, we try to provide as much medical care on-site as possible. We also partner with specialists such as podiatrists, optometrists, dentists, psychiatrists, etc. to provide onsite care.

What types of specialized training does the staff have?

Team members complete 16 hours of computerized training prior to any assignments in the houses.  We also provide an additional  16 hours of orientation for all staff members during their first few weeks of employment.

New employees work alongside more experienced staff for their first few days in their home department to become acquainted with our residents, computer systems, and philosophy of care.  

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