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Assisted Living in PA

A Caregiver's Guide to Assisted Living Facilities in Pennsylvania

What they're called

Official name: Assisted Living Residences (ALR) and Personal Care Homes (PCH)

Common name: Assisted living facilities

To compare assisted living to board and care, skilled nursing, and other long-term residential care communities, see Residential Care Options: How to Decide.

What they offer
  • ALR: Individual living units (from single rooms to multiroom apartments) with kitchen facilities and separate bathroom for each unit (unit may be shared voluntarily by up to two persons)
  • PCH: Shared (up to four persons) living units, usually without separate cooking facilities; bathrooms may be shared
  • All meals, usually in a common dining area
  • ALR must offer (at least) two core service packages:
    • Independent Core Package: For residents who don't require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, dressing, and bathing; includes 24-hour supervision, health monitoring, and emergency response; housekeeping and laundry; short-term assistance with ADLs during a recovery period; and cognitive support services.
    • Enhanced Core Package: For residents who require assistance with ADLs; includes all services in the basic core package plus assistance with ADLs, transportation, and assistance with self-administration of medication or medication administration. (A resident may decline a particular service, with fees to be adjusted accordingly.)
  • PCH offers supervision and health monitoring; assistance with or administration of medications; and may (but is not required to) offer personal care services, including help with one or more ADLs.
  • Social and exercise activities

Note: Some facilities also offer respite care and other special services.

What they cost

Median monthly fees: $3,000 (higher for residents requiring memory care)

State of Pennsylvania requirements
  • An ALR must provide or arrange for supplemental healthcare services, as needed, including home healthcare, hospice, physical and occupational therapy, skilled nursing, escort service (if requested) to medical appointments, and cognitive support services.
  • An ALR must prepare a medical evaluation (reviewed annually or upon change of condition), a resident assessment, and a support plan (reviewed quarterly) for each resident prior to admission.
  • A PCH must prepare a preadmission screening, a medical evaluation, a needs assessment, and a support plan.
State of Pennsylvania oversight

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Bureau of Adult Residential Licensure licenses and regulates assisted living facilities.

How to resolve problems or offer feedback
How to pay for assisted living in Pennsylvania
  • Most assisted living is paid for privately by the resident and/or his or her family.
  • For low-income residents of Personal Care Homes who are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), an extra SSI payment is available.
  • Low-income veterans or surviving spouses of veterans may be eligible for Aid and Attendance or other payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which can help pay for assisted living.
  • Some assisted living facilities offer sliding scale fees, making a higher level of care available to families that might not otherwise be able to afford it. Be sure to ask -- or ask a geriatric care manager in the area if he or she knows which facilities offer sliding scale fees.
Help finding and choosing a facility
  • Hire a geriatric care manager (most have extensive local knowledge about assisted living facilities in a particular geographic area, including space availability, resident needs assessments, sliding scale fees, and resident satisfaction). To find a geriatric care manager, see's Senior Living Directory.
  • For details about assisted living facilities in each of the 50 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia, see A Caregiver's Guide to Assisted Living Facilities.

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