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Pushing For More Pennsylvania Assisted Living Regulations

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Home » Pennsylvania » Pennsylvania Assisted Living Regulations
Pushing For More Pennsylvania Assisted Living Regulations
Summary: An advocacy group in Pennsylvania is pushing for more regulations to help protect Pennsylvania's 50,000-plus assisted living residents.
Written by: The staff at Assisted Living Directory

Assisted Living unfortunately all too often plays out like a soap opera. I do news alerts for assisted living - which is a service that many news organizations and search engines offer that allow you to receive daily alerts to your e-mail box on the subjects you are interested in. I do mine through the New York Times, and Google, and my subject, of course, is assisted living.

Almost daily, I am surprised at the types of articles that surface in the news sphere and blogsphere. They often times play out like something out of a bad daytime soap. Some of the more common stories are about assisted living residents (most often with dementia or Alzheimer's) wandering away from the facilities. Sometimes they are found safe hours or even days later - confused, hungry and dehydrated. However, other times, the story is not so happy, as these residents have at times been found frozen in the snow, dead, or injured in some other way.

I have seen many stories pertaining to food poisoning, or where an entire facility came down with a food-borne illness. Another story I remember was of a woman who got a hold of some cleaning chemicals that were left out, and unfortunately ingested them. She had dementia, and thought the chemicals were juice.

In my opinion, assisted living is growing too fast for states to keep up with regulation, and quality standards are not consistent. Regulations and standards can vary from state to state, as the federal government has very little to do with how assisted living facilities are and Security in Assisted Living

Pennsylvania, I am happy to report, has a new group (relatively) who is pushing for quality standards in Pennsylvania state regulations covering assisted living facilities. This group, called the The Pennsylvania Assisted Living Consumer Alliance (PALCA) formed in 2008, is a new organization of consumers, family members and advocates for the elderly and persons with disabilities.

I learned about this group in the same, unconventional way that I often times learn about new news or things happening in the assisted living industry - a member of this group posted a comment on my blog. Actually, it was just the website address and nothing else - but I did go to the website to find out more.

I learned that there are over 50,000 people in Pennsylvania who live in what we might call assisted living facilities. Unfortunately, in most states, the term assisted living is very loosely used, and at times doesn't really mean what it says. I have seen facilities list themselves as "assisted living type care" or "assisted home care" - and sometimes these "facilities" are simply someone's residential home trying to pass themselves off as an assisted living facility, when they offer sub-standard care, and would fail most safety and food inspections. Many of them might be operating without a license of any kind, or without adequately trained staff.

This is why there are so many unfortunate accidents, and thus, regular, disturbing news stories coming out of the assisted living industry. Most elderly folks who choose to live in an assisted living environment are not able to care for themselves, or make rational decisions regarding their care and safety.

This is exactly why we need more regulations and watchdogs in this industry - just as this group in Pennsylvania is helping to achieve. The Pennsylvania General Assembly last year passed a bill to license the fast-growing assisted living industry - a good step - however, there is some concern that the passage of Act 56 may be just "window dressing."

We hope more states follow suit. The goal in the assisted living industry should be zero accidents, zero deaths, and maximum happiness. Pennsylvania is most certainly heading in the right direction.

- by the staff at Assisted Living Directory

Responses to this article:
Mitchell Wrote:
I think all states are going to have to tighten down on the assisted living industry, especially as it is slated for explosive growth in the coming few years.
14 November 2011 at 8:41 am

Rhonda Wrote:
I could write a book about the problems with Waiver programs that provide "help/care" to disabled and sick/dying consumers. It is all about substandard care. Those living in their own homes and are in a Home Based Community Independent living Waiver program get NO CARE, Those who "provide the care may not even have a high school edu., just have to be 18 yrs of age. They are to clean, but then that gets debated too, as each definition of cleaning is different, for me it means to have a clean house, but for these waiver programs it is just to pick up some of the clutter, wash dishes and if a little egg is left on the plates or pans, well that's OK. They can do your laundry, and you have to hold your breath at what may come out of the washer, will it be clean, will it tear your skin off when you try to wear them later and cooking, well that is another hodge-podge in and of itself altogether.Most of the food is inedible as most don't have a clue how to cook. After cooking the kitchen would not pass most food and safety inspections. But hey, who cares and who is gonna know, especially when these consumers have no family resources, and/or live alone. I am in such a waiver program, and when I went into this program I had less than 20 mins of "training", approx 4 days later I had major surgery that was so severe as to put me into a medically induced coma to kept my pain from killing me literally. I was under the impression I was to fill out the attendants time sheets like a schedule, but being so sick and drugged up I got confused and needed more help, the agency I was with never came to help, even when they saw for themselves that I was having difficulties with applications and other paper-work. This went on for quite awhile as I was having approx 2 and1/2 major surgeries a yr. Then to my surprise what was a close friend became jealous and angry with me and actually wished me to hurry up and die, decided to talk with the atty gen dpt and now I am looking at Medicaid fraud charges and so are some of the attendants I had all because I was unable to do the timesheets correctly (hrs worked were correct) times and dates became hard for me to keep track of. Now I am told that I should not have been doing to the timesheets as that was the job of the attendants. Yet NO ONE told anyone of us that. There is no protection for the consumer who is dealing with survival and then to find out that by cleaning my house that was fraud, no cleaning, just pick up clutter, cook whatever food and serve it even if it falls on the floor. Watering my plants is considered fraud. Cleaning my walls to keep down the dust and or moldy mildew is fraud even when you have severe lung cancer and only have one lung left. So take WARNING if considering a Home based waiver program and it did nothing good for me and has turned my happiness, health and world upside down and on its way to hell. As sick as I am the Atty Gen wants to make an example out of me, to show that even the dying are not safe from prison. Consumers BEWARE AND HEED THIS warning, it is not about you or your health or safety, only about the numbers which brings in the most money. I will die before I go to jail, but what a way to spend my final days. THIS IS A TRUE Biography, Don't think it can't happen to you or your loved ones. Rhonda
16 July 2010 at 5.16 pm

Victoria Wrote:
Regarding Medicaid in Assisted Living. It will not work the same as medicaid in a nursing home. Money will supposedly be distributed to persons on a waiver bases, However, once again the waivers, will (when available) only be available to persons living in assisted living. The process is on track and the last reported date for new licensure will be July 2010. The hope is that the waiver process will take effect on or about the same time.
The entire process will benefit the consumer and Long Term Living Communities. As a GM in a home that will apply for licensure I look forward to providing quality care for seniors who deserve to remain where they are most comfortable. Victoria
1 October 2009 at 6:44 pm

Pauline Wrote:
My sister-in-law is living in an assisted living facility in Pennsylvania and has only enough money for "personal pay" for a few more months. The Director told her that she will have to move, that they "can not afford her"..she has no place to go and certainly, my husband & I do not have room for her...we are not wealthy by any question is: What can be done and is it legal for them to move her out...where are they moving her....on the street? Pauline
4 October 2009 at 7:44 pm

Lou Wrote:
Does Medicaid fund assisted living under the new legislation in pennsylvania?
11 June 2009 at 7:30 pm

Victoria Wrote:
Assisted Living regs are passed, in place and worth the change for owners of PCH's to convert to ALF. However consumer groups have had a hand in stagnating the process due to demands that DO NOT neccessarily address safety and welfare as much as they address luxury and amenities. Thus the regs are being revised causing a delay in the entire process. I agree there are concerns that MUST be addressed, however as the Administrator in a 90 bed facility, that is thourughly inspected annually, I suspect that the horror stories mentioned above, while devastating, are rare. If reimbursement is to occur Asst Living regs must be reasonalbe, financially attainable and enforced. This way EVERONE will benefit. Victoria
4 June 2009 at 12:14 pm

Sue Wrote:
How does the medicaid funding for assisted living work in PENNSYLVANIA
3 June 2009 at 7:21 pm

Robert Wrote:
My mother was just moved from Sunrise Senior Living. They shouldn't even be allowed to work as an assisted living facility. They are the worst. The carpets smell, the employees are untrained, the corporate office hangs up on you and the buildings are extremely unsafe Robert
26 March 2009 at 11:26 am

Charles Wrote:
Does anyone know anything about the new medicaid law for assisted living that is supposed to be passed this year in Pennsylvania. We are waiting for help with medicaid in PA for assisted living and I can not find out any information about this new law that I here will be passed. I hear it is supposed to help pay for assisted living facilities in PA. Thank You Charles
15 March 2009 at 12:38 pm

Mary C. Wrote:
My brother lives in an Personal Care home in Washington, PA (I live in New Mexico). When I visited him on Thanksgiving, I was surprised in that the home seemed very dark & dingy. When we picked him up to hopefully go out to eat, he was dressed very poorly. I was not at all happy about his curcumstances, even though he seemed to like the help at the home. He was also very hungry & had three (?) helpings of everyghint. When I asked the assistant about this, she told me that this was how diabetics were, they lose their ability to know when they are full. I check online with the Mayo clinic & this only happens when the diabetic is not receivning enough insulin!! Is there someone in PA I could contact about this home & have it inspected? He is on Medicare & Medicaid & we (my other brother & I) are not wealthy by any means. Thank you for any help. Mary
12 Dec 2008 at 3:42 pm

Mike B. Wrote:
My mother has been in a facility in Butler, PA. for many years, and she has had extraordinary care. I understand that this might not be the norm, though.
20 Aug 2008 at 10:11 am

George Wrote:
I would like to buy a small assisted living business. What should I know about the industry before I buy? Are they more difficult to finance? Thank you! George I live in Western Pa.
10 Nov 2008 at 07:11 pm
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