Assisted Living in Rhode Island
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Families looking for assisted living in Rhode Island (RI) have a wide array of communities to choose from, since estimated that there are more than 30,000 assisted living communities serving seniors across the U.S., and over 55 statewide. The state is also home to a rapidly growing number of senior citizens, with adults over 65 making up an estimated 16.8 percent of the population. A resident in an assisted living community in Rhode Island will pay $4,350 per month on average.
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What You Should Know About Assisted Living in Rhode Island
Rhode Island has numerous assisted living communities throughout the state. Residents typically enjoy a small-town atmosphere while enjoying access to top-notch health care and friendly caregivers. Rhode Island typically calls assisted living communities “assisted living residences” or ALRs.
In Rhode Island, ALRs are licensed based on specific levels according to fire code, medication classifications and dementia care.
Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Rhode Island
In Rhode Island, low-income seniors can apply for financial assistance through Medicaid programs and other state-funded supplementary programs.
Medicaid Programs for the Elderly
Medicaid is a nationwide program for low-income seniors that's jointly funded by the state and federal government. Rhode Island manages its own Medicaid program using guidelines put in place by the federal government. While some Medicaid programs offer assistance to children and families, the focus of the Medicaid programs discussed below are for the elderly.
Rhode Island is unique in that its state plan and Medicaid waivers are merged under what is called the Rhode Island Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver, also known as the Rhode Island Comprehensive Demonstration.
Under this global waiver, a number of services are available, including:
- Personal care
- Homemaker services
- Meal delivery
- Assisted living services
While this waiver may not cover room and board costs at an assisted living community, it may cover other costs associated with living there, such as meals or medical expenses. It's important to check with an individual assisted living community to find out what Medicaid plans they accept and what components of assisted living Medicaid will cover.
Who Is Eligible?
According to the State of Rhode Island's Division of Elderly Affairs, for most home and community care programs, the individual must be aged 65 or older, a resident of Rhode Island, and be basically homebound, so they are unable to leave home without considerable assistance.
How to Apply
To apply for Medicaid assistance in Rhode Island, visit the state's Health and Human Services website, where you can view and print the appropriate PDF to apply for Medicaid benefits. For help with the application, you can call the Department of Human Services Medicaid Provider Help Desk at 401-784-8100 or toll-free 1-800-964-6211.
For seniors who receive Supplemental Security Income and reside in assisted living residences, the state offers an Optional State Supplement (OSS) to help offset room and board costs. In 2018, the maximum amount of an OSS was $332 per month for a total of $1,082.
Who is Eligible?
Any resident of Rhode Island, aged 65 or older, who already receives SSI benefits would be eligible for this supplement.
How to Apply
To view more information about SSI and this program, you can view this fact sheet from the Department of Human Services. For information on how to apply, call or visit the Pawtucket DHS Office at 1-855-MY-RIDHS (1-855-697-4347). This office is located at 249 Roosevelt Ave. in Pawtucket, RI.
More Ways to Finance Assisted Living
While many families use their own funds or personal assets to pay for assisted living, there are plenty of additional options to cover these costs. Visit our 9 Ways to Pay for Assisted Living page for more information.
Free Assisted Living Resources in Rhode Island
There are a number of government-funded agencies and organizations that help seniors find appropriate assisted living communities, provide important information related to care types and the application process, and assist with finding financial solutions.
If you're not sure where to start when you're attempting to better understand senior care for your loved one, these organizations can be a great resource.
Rhode Island Area Agencies on Aging
Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) is a nationwide network of more than 600 organizations throughout the United States. They help provide assistance to adults over 60 in their local areas.
In Rhode Island, this free organization offers assistance in multiple areas, including health insurance counseling, elder abuse prevention, and general aging and disability resources. The state's office is listed below with contact information.
25 Howard Avenue, Building 57, Cranston, RI 02920
As in every state, VA centers assist US military veterans and their spouses with obtaining veteran benefits and help with finding and financing residential or home-based senior care, including assisted living. They can also help veterans and their spouses understand what other benefits they may be eligible for. In Rhode Island, there is one vet center located in the city of Warwick.
2038 Warwick Avenue, Warwick, RI 02889
Another federally operated source of assistance for seniors in Rhode Island can be found at the state's Social Security offices. By visiting one of their locations, seniors can gain an understanding of their personal Social Security benefits and apply for additional benefits.
130 Bellevue Ave, Newport, RI 02840
1-866-253-5607 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
4 Pleasant St, Pawtucket, RI 02860
1-866-931-7079 or TTY: 1-401-729-1896
One Empire Plaza, Providence, RI 02903
1-877-402-0808 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
30 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02903
1-866-964-2038 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
2168 Diamond Hill Road, Woonsocket, RI 02895
1-877-229-3542 or TTY: 1-401-765-1620
The Rhode Island Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program supports seniors' rights and dignities. If you or a loved one is facing lack of care in an assisted living residence or nursing home, contact The Alliance at 401-785-3340 or 1-888-351-0808. This nonprofit organization advocates for seniors and gives them a voice when they can't speak for themselves.
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Rhode Island
Rhode Island has a comprehensive set of laws and regulations that assisted living communities statewide must follow. Below are some of the key laws, regulations and requirements that may be helpful for you to know as you investigate assisted living options.
Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements
Assisted living residences (ALRs) in Rhode Island provide assistance with the activities of daily living, medication management, arrangement for support services, and monitoring of residents' recreational, social and personal activities.
Prior to admission to a Rhode Island assisted living community, a registered nurse (RN) conducts a comprehensive assessment of each prospective resident. This evaluation covers each applicant's needs and preferences in the areas of health, physical, social, functional, activity and cognitive areas.
This initial assessment helps determine whether or not the assisted living community can meet all of their required needs. It also serves as the basis for service planning, if admitted.
In Rhode Island, the service plan must be updated annually or whenever there is a significant change in the resident's health condition. In addition, the assigned RN must visit the assisted living community once every 30 days and perform the following tasks:
- Monitor medication regiments
- Review any new physician orders and evaluate health status of all residents
- Evaluate the appropriateness of the placement
- Make any necessary recommendations to the assisted living administrator
Assisted Living Admission Requirements
The 2015 edition of the Compendium of Residential Care and Assisted Living Regulations and Policy states that admission to assisted living communities in Rhode Island is “limited to persons with the physical mobility and decision-making ability to take appropriate action in emergency situations, except for dementia care units.”
It also states that assisted living residences may not “admit or retain persons needing medical or skilled nursing care, including daily professional observation and evaluation, and/or persons who are bedbound or in need of the assistance of more than one person for ambulation.”
In other words, if an individual's medical needs are beyond what an assisted living residence can provide, that person is probably better off seeking senior care in a nursing home or other facility that can handle acute medical needs.
Assisted Living Scope of Care
Assisted living residences in Rhode Island provide lodging, meals and personal assistance to its residents, defined as two or more adults who are unrelated to the administrator. Services are provided to meet each resident's changing needs and preferences.
Assisted Living Medicaid Policy
The Department of Human Services in Rhode Island administers a Medicaid 1115 demonstration waiver program called the Rhode Island Comprehensive Demonstration that covers assisted living services for low-income seniors who qualify.
Additionally, seniors in Rhode Island can receive an optional supplement to their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits that may help cover housing costs.
Assisted Living Facility Requirements
According to Rhode Island law, rooms can have no more than two beds and there should be suitable furnishings for the residents. In addition, single rooms must be no less than 100 square feet, and double rooms no less than 160 square feet. This excludes closets, wardrobes, lockers and alcoves. Residents have the right to a lockable area that they can store personal belongings.
Each residence must have at least one bather for every 10 beds and one toilet every eight beds. The hot water temperature is also regulated, being no less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit and no more than 118 degrees Fahrenheit.
Assisted living residences must also have a room that can easily accommodate all residents at once.
Assisted living residences must meet stringent fire regulations. Those with residents who are incapable of self-preservation must meet F1 licensure, but they only need to meet F2 licensure if all residents are capable.
Medication Management Regulations
Medication management is one of the main criteria upon which the licensure system for assisted living communities in Rhode Island is based.
- For ALRs at license level M1, licensed employees (including RNs) or unlicensed persons who have previously completed a state-approved course in drug administration may administer oral or topical medication.
- Injectable medications and drugs that fall under the Schedule II classification, however, must be administered by licensed personnel.
- For ALRs at license level M2, unlicensed staff can assist residents with self-administration by reminding them to take their meds and observing them. A resident who normally self-administers medication can ask for assistance, and they can request that the facility provide them with a 1-week medi-set, which is a pre-poured medication distribution system. The medi-sets may only be prepared by a licensed nurse or pharmacist, or an unlicensed staff member who has completed state-approved training.
There are no minimum ratios in assisted living communities in Rhode Island. The state dictates that “staffing levels must be sufficient to provide the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the residents' highest practicable physical, mental and social well-being.”
A certified administrator must be employed at an ALR, and responsible for the safe and proper operation of the assisted living community. They are responsible also for hiring competent and appropriate employees, who provide direct care to residents.
At least one employee who has completed CPR training must be awake and at the ALR at all times, and must be capable of communicating with emergency personnel.
Staff Training Requirements
Rhode Island states that new employees at ALRs must receive at least two hours of orientation and training on specified topics within 10 days of hire and prior to beginning work alone. Administrators must complete at least 32 hours of continuing education every two years.
Staff who have regular contact with residents are required to receive at least 10 hours of orientation and training within 30 days of hire in additional topics, which include:
- Universal precautions
- Medical emergency procedures
- Basic knowledge of aging-related behaviors
- Personal assistance
- Assistance with medication
- Service plans
- Basic knowledge of cultural differences (where appropriate)
Background Checks for ALR Staff in Rhode Island
At Rhode Island assisted living facilities, all employees are subject to a statewide criminal background check within one week of hire. This is completed through state or local police departments. Fingerprinting is not required in this process. If any disqualifying information is found, the administrator is required to make a judgment call about how to proceed and whether or not to hire that person. Rhode Island does not specify what criteria would be considered disqualifying.
Requirements for Reporting Abuse
Rhode Island defines abuse as behavior that is “physical, emotional, sexual, financially exploitative or involves abandonment.”
According to the Division of Elderly Affairs in Rhode Island, state law requires any person who has “reasonable cause” to believe an elderly person has been abused to report it to the DEA. Failure of anyone to report abuse of a person age 60 or older may face a fine up to $1,000.
Residents of ALRs, administrators, relatives or other loved ones are encouraged to file a case of elderly abuse or neglect with the DEA Protective Services Unit at 462-0555.
Assisted Living Facilities in Rhode Island
Top-Rated Caring Stars Winners in Rhode Island
Caring.com’s Caring Stars award program recognizes the best assisted living facilities across the U.S. based on reviews from family caregivers and older adults. This award is meant to help older adults and their loved ones find the best assisted living or in-home care option in their area. The list below shows up to 10 listings that have won the most Caring Stars annual awards in their state, sorted by their current overall average rating. For a complete list of Caring Stars winners for each year, please visit our Caring Stars info center.
The Village at Waterman Lake
Smithfield, RI $$$
Brookdale Pocasset Bay
Johnston, RI $
Greenwich Farms at Warwick
Warwick, RI $$$
The Elms Retirement Residence
Westerly, RI $
Brookdale West Bay
Warwick, RI $
East Greenwich, RI Cost Levels
Wingate Residences on Blackstone Boulevard
Providence, RI $$
Atria Lincoln Place
Lincoln, RI Cost Levels