Is there a law for assisted living room size?

Bpuff0506 asked...

My grandmother is in a nursing home in their assisted living hall. She has to share a room with another because Medicare only pays for a semi-private room. In that room, there is not enough space for either resident to get around in there in their wheelchair and hardly room to walk at all. This seems very unsafe to me. She has fallen several times before and we're afraid this is going to happen again. Is this legal for rooms to be so small and residents packed in like sardines?

Expert Answer

Maria Basso Lipani writes a popular website on geriatric care topics, where she puts her expertise as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker to good use answering care planning questions. Maria is a graduate of Columbia University School of Social Work and is licensed in California and New York.

Title VII of the Older Americans Act requires that each state have an ombudsman program that functions solely to "investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of older individuals who are residents of long term care facilities".  The link below will help you locate the program in your state.  I'd encourage you to contact them and ask if there are any federal requirements (or perhaps any state licensing requirements) regarding the size of a resident’s room.  All calls to the ombudsman program are strictly confidential and if the nursing home is out of compliance on this, the ombudsman program will work with the facility to address your concerns. Hope this helps.