Assisted Living Regulations

In January of 2011, a new option in long-term living will become available in Pennsylvania. At that time, Assisted Living Residences (ALRs) will start to be licensed based on a regulation that was published in the PA Bulletin on July 17, 2010. A copy of the regulation can be found at:

ALRs will be licensed under 55 Pa. Code, Chapter 2800 by the Office of Long-Term Living. Similar to Personal Care Homes (PCHs), ALRs will have an initial assessment, development of a support plan, and a written contract between the resident and the residence. However, there are many differences between the two.

The following link contains the preamble to this new regulation, a version of the final form regulation that highlights key changes from the proposed version, and the extensive comment/response document where commentator questions about these regulations were answered.  

What is the difference between an Assisted Living Residence and a Personal Care Home?

ALRs are different from PCHs in 3 ways: concept, construction and level of care. ALRs embody the concept of allowing a resident to “age in place” without having to move to a licensed long-term care facility when their needs increase.

The construction of an ALR is different from a PCH. PCH residents live in bedrooms that may be shared by up to 4 people. ALR residents will have living units with kitchen capacity. No one will be forced to share a living unit. Living units will have a door with a lock and a private bathroom. This housing-service model will allow for privacy and maximum independence. It is similar to a studio apartment where the resident can make meals if desired and have a private bathroom.

The level of care provided in an ALR is distinguishable from a PCH, offering another choice of long-term living options in the commonwealth. A person who needs the level of care of a nursing facility must transfer when their needs become too great. That same person, however, will be able to live in an ALR where they’ll be provided with the services they need to age in place.