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Senior Living March 27, 2015

What are Assisted Living Facilities? Not Personal Care, in Pennsylvania.

The differences between assisted living housing and personal care housing are some of the things that our senior care team outlines with prospective residents and their families all the time. Up until 2011, the terms were interchangeable, but the licensing regulations in Pennsylvania have changed, causing a need for clarification between the two types of facilities.

What makes the differences even more difficult to decipher is that many facilities that offer Personal Care would easily qualify for the Assisted Living licensure, but the provider chooses not to obtain it because of administrative limitations.

Let’s outline the key differences and answer once and for all: what are assisted living facilities?

Assisted living facilities (known by the state as ALRs or Assisted Living Residences) are different from Personal Care Homes in three main ways:

  1. Concept: they embody the “concept” of allowing an individual to “age in place,” which is a popular industry term that means, regardless of the level of care that may become required, the resident will not need to relocate to a different facility to receive it. Assisted living facilities offer skilled nursing and even hospice care should it become required at the end of life.
  2. Construction: Personal Care Homes (PCHs) may have shared bedroom arrangements, while ALRs may not. Assisted living housing must offer private, locking bathrooms, and kitchenette accommodations (like a studio apartment). This does not mean that all PCHs offer shared bedroom arrangements or shared bathrooms, which is why touring various facilities is important.
  3. Level of Care: The most distinguishable difference between assisted living facilities and personal care homes is the level of care offered at the end of life. An ALR must provide skilled nursing for a resident, on-site, when their need becomes too great to live in their apartment.

It is important to note that, while the state regulations that differentiate the differences between assisted living facilities and personal care homes are clear, there are many personal care homes that offer services nearly identical to those offered in assisted living housing.

Country Meadows’ Bethlehem location offers skilled nursing, along with private apartment arrangements in the Personal Care level of care.

The best way to truly identify the differences between a specific assisted living facility and a specific personal care home is to take a personal tour of the facility. Upon meeting the staff and seeing the care levels firsthand, you will be able to make an informed decision about the right facility for your loved one.

You can arrange a visit with a member of the Country Meadows team any time.


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