Assisted Living in South Carolina
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Families looking for assisted living in South Carolina (SC) 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 203 statewide. The state is also home to a rapidly growing number of senior citizens, with adults over 65 making up an estimated 17.2 percent of the population. A resident in an assisted living community in South Carolina will pay $3,500 per month on average.
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What You Should Know About Assisted Living in South Carolina
In South Carolina, assisted living communities, often referred to as assisted living facilities, provide housing for elderly residents, as well as personal care and transportation services. Residents are often encouraged to participate in community recreational activities and complete as much of their own self-care as possible. The state regulates and monitors all facilities to help ensure they remain safe living environments for their residents.
Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in South Carolina
In South Carolina, you can apply for assistance to pay for assisted living through one or both of the state’s two subsidy programs.
Supplemental Security Income — Optional State Supplement Program (OSS)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a benefits program run by the Social Security Administration for seniors with limited income and means. South Carolina’s OSS program supplements the cost of assisted living for residents who meet all the qualifications of the SSI program, except for the maximum income limit.
Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for the OSS program, you must:
- Be at least 65 years old and a resident of South Carolina
- Reside at an assisted living facility that's enrolled with SCDHHS
- Be a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident Alien
- Have a monthly income of less that $1,435, as of 2018
- Have individual resources totaling less than $2,000, as of 2018
How to Apply
Before applying for the OSS program, you should make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for SSI, with the exception of the income limit. To apply for the OSS program, you need to fill out the Healthy Connections Application for Nursing Home, Residential or In-Home Care. Then, return it to your county SCDHHS office. You can also apply online.
Healthy Connections is South Carolina’s Medicaid program. Its Community Choices Waiver program, which is sometimes referred to as the Elderly and Disabled waiver, allows seniors who are eligible for nursing home care to remain a part of the community. Under the program, each case is assessed individually to determine if assisted living is a viable option. If approved, the waiver helps pay your assisted living costs.
Who is Eligible?
If you’re age 65 or older and you qualify for Medicaid, you’re eligible for the Community Choices Waiver program. You should also need help with self-care and need the type of care that’s required in a nursing home but prefer not to reside in one.
How to Apply
The Community Choices Waiver program is a community long-term care (CLTC) program run by SCDHHS. Because of the program’s popularity, there’s typically a waiting list for waivers. To start the application process, call your county SCDHHS office, and submit an application for Medicaid if you don’t currently have it.IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember, not all assisted living communities in South Carolina accept state-offered subsidies. Always check with prospective assisted living communities to see what form of payments they accept and inquire if they offer reduced rates for low-income residents.
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 South Carolina
Several government-funded agencies provide free information to seniors and their loved ones to help them understand any available assistance programs which they might qualify for and find an assisted living community that fits their needs.
South Carolina Area Agencies on Aging
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging is a federally funded organization that provides free services to adults in their community who are aged 60 or older. In addition to helping you find the right assisted living community, the organization can help you apply for Medicaid and/or Medicare. They also assist with long-term care planning and provide support for families during the process of finding an assisted living community for their loved one. Additionally, the AAA offers a Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program that advocates on behalf of residents to investigate complaints and programs they may encounter while residing in an assisted living community.Find an Area Agency on Aging nearest you from the list of South Carolina locations below:
SC Appalachian Council of Governments, 30 Century Circle, Greenville, SC 29607
2051 Ebenezer Road, Suite B, Post Office Box 4618, Rock Hill, SC 29732
(803) 329-9670; (800) 662-8330
Central Midlands Council of Governments, 236 Stoneridge Drive, Columbia, SC 29210
(803) 376-5390; (866) 394-4166
Lowcountry Council of Governments, 634 Campground Road, Yemassee, SC 29945
(843) 473-3991; (877) 846-8148
Lower Savannah Council of Governments, 2748 Wagener Road, Aiken, SC 29801
Caresouth Carolina, Inc., 216 South 2nd Street, Hartsville, SC 29551
Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments, 39 E. Calhoun Street, Sumter, SC 29150
4450 Leeds Place West, Suite B, North Charleston, SC 29405
Upper Savannah Council of Governments, 430 Helix Road, Greenwood, SC 29646
(864) 941-8069; (800) 922-7729
Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments, 1230 Highmarket Street, Georgetown, SC 29440
Located across South Carolina, VA centers help veterans and their spouses find an appropriate assisted living community for them. They can also review your current VA benefits and see if you're eligible for any additional benefits based on your military service.Below is a list of VA Centers in the state and their contact information:
1710 Richland Street, Suite A, Columbia, SC 29201
3625 West Montague Avenue, North Charleston, SC 29418
3 Caledon Court, Suite B, Greenville, SC 29615
2024 Corporate Centre Drive, Suite 103, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
While Social Security is a program that runs on a federal level, Social Security offices are found in every state, including South Carolina. If you have questions about your Social Security benefits or SSI benefits, your nearest Social Security office can help. Seniors often visit nearby offices to get assistance filling out the proper forms and to have someone help them understand their benefits.A list of South Carolina Social Security offices can be found here.
151 Corporate Pkwy, Aiken, SC 29803
1-866-275-8271 or TTY: 1-803-641-9430
4 Civic Ctr Blvd Ext, Anderson, SC 29625
1-877-505-4549 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
646 Robert Smalls Pkwy, Beaufort, SC 29906
1-866-254-3316 or TTY: 1-843-524-3943
1028 Cheraw St, Bennettsville, SC 29512
1-888-810-7617 or TTY: 1-843-479-8800
1463 Tobias Gadson Blvd, Charleston, SC 29407
1-866-495-0111 or TTY: 1-843-573-3615
292 Professional Park, Clinton, SC 29325
1-866-526-9854 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
1835 Assembly St, Columbia, SC 29201
1-866-964-7594 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
1316 3rd Ave, Conway, SC 29526
1-888-577-6601 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
181 Dozier Blvd, Florence, SC 29501
1-888-385-1173 or TTY: 1-843-667-6571
413 King St, Georgetown, SC 29440
1-866-593-1584 or TTY: 1-843-527-8775
319 Pelham Rd, Greenville, SC 29615
1-877-274-5423 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
115 Enterprise Court, Greenwood, SC 29649
1-866-739-4803 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
1379 Sims St, Orangeburg, SC 29115
1-866-716-8602 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
499 Lakeshore Pkwy, Rock Hill, SC 29730
1-877-626-9859 or TTY: 1-803-329-6369
145 N Church St, Spartanburg, SC 29306
1-866-701-6620 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
240 Bultman Dr, Sumter, SC 29150
1-877-445-0840 or TTY: 1-803-775-0354
502 Robertson Blvd, Walterboro, SC 294881-866-708-2810 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in South Carolina
Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements
Assisted living communities must assess the needs of new residents within 72 hours of admission. During the assessment, a staff member gathers information to determine the extent of help the resident needs and ensure the community can meet the resident’s requirements. All of the information gathered during the initial assessment is then used to create an individual care plan (ICP).A full ICP needs to be completed within seven days of a resident’s admission to the community. Also, the staff is required to review and revise each resident’s ICP at least twice per year and any time the resident’s needs change.The ICP should contain a list of the resident’s specific needs, requirements and arrangements for physician and other health care provider visits, directions for advanced care and/or healthcare power-of-attorney form and the resident’s dietary needs. Also, care plans should include a list of recreational and social activities that are important to the resident’s well-being.
Assisted Living Admission Requirements
Facilities aren’t allowed to accept residents if it can’t meet a resident’s needs. It also can’t accept residents who display serious aggression, violent behavior or socially inappropriate behavioral symptoms.
Additionally, residents of an assisted living community cannot require any type of hospital or nursing care including:
- Daily skilled monitoring due to a complex or unstable medical condition
- Medications that require frequent dosage adjustments or regular subcutaneous or intramuscular injections
- Administration of intravenous fluids or medications
- Care for a urinary catheter — unless the resident can care for it on their own
- Treatment for multiple pressure sores
- Treatment for Stage II, III or IV decubitus ulcers
- Nasogastric tube feeding
- Tracheostomy or sterile care — unless the resident can manage the care on their own
- Receiving oxygen for the first time — which requires a regular evaluation of the oxygen concentration and adjustments
- Help with all activities of daily living (ADLs) for more than 14 consecutive days
- Sterile dressing changes
Assisted Living Scope of Care
Assisted living facilities in South Carolina provide housing and personal care services to residents. This may include assistance with bathing, grooming, dressing and medication management. The state also requires communities to provide transportation for residents and at least one structured recreation activity per day.
Assisted living facilities don’t provide skilled nursing services for more than 14 consecutive days at a time. If skilled nursing services are needed on a short-term basis, a licensed nurse employed by the community or a home health care nurse needs to provide the necessary care.
Assisted Living Medicaid Policy
Some assisted living facilities in South Carolina accept Medicaid as a form of payment for the personal care services provided to residents. To be eligible for coverage, you must meet the eligibility requirements for the Medicaid program and be receiving benefits from the OSS program.
South Carolina pays OSS benefits to residents who are eligible for SSI or who meet the all the requirements for SSI except for the income limits. The cost of room and board is also limited for Medicaid-eligible residents so that their OSS and SSI, minus a personal needs allowance, cover their monthly costs.
Assisted Living Facility Requirements
Assisted living communities are required by law to document all preventative building maintenance. The state also has strict building codes and regulations for assisted living communities, including requirements to have:
- At least 200 gross square feet per licensed bed — if the community has 10 beds or fewer
- At least 100 gross square feet per licensed bed — if the community has more than 10 beds
- An automatic supervised fire alarm system that notifies a third party of a fire immediately
- Curtains and/or draperies in each resident's bathroom and room to provide privacy
- Hazard-free floors made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected frequently
- Resident rooms with doors that open into an approved exit access corridor without the need to pass through another space
- Running hot and cold water in all bathrooms, washrooms and showers
- Electrically illuminated exit signs and directional arrows, if needed
Medication Management Regulations
Staff members at assisted living community are allowed to administer routine medications, as long as the staff member has been trained to do so by someone who is licensed to administer medications. Trained staff members can also administer medication by injection if the medication is for diabetes or an anaphylactic reaction. Licensed staff nurses have to administer injections, such as vitamin B-12 and influenza injections, as well as perform skin tests for tuberculosis.
Some communities allow residents to administer medication on their own, as long as the resident is capable. Self-administering medications require written authorization from a resident's physician or another authorized health care provider, and the authorization requires semi-annual evaluation and renewal.
All assisted living communities in the state need a licensed CRCF administrator who received his or her license from the state Board of Long Term Health Care Administrators. This person controls all the facility's functions and activities. One of the community's staff members should also be designated, in writing, to act in the administrator's absence.
Communities should also have one staff member who is dedicated solely to the development of recreational activities, as well as obtaining and maintaining any recreational supplies needed. This staff member, or his or her assistant, is also responsible for providing and coordinating recreational activities for community residents.
Additionally, the state requires one active-duty staff member per eight residents during the day and one active-duty staff member per 30 residents in the evening. If a community has multiple floors, residents should find at least one staff member on their floor at all times. Also, one staff member takes on the responsibility of ensuring all residents are present at all times and that appropriate actions are taken immediately if a resident becomes ill, falls or has an accident or there's an emergency. If the facility housed Medicaid-eligible residents, a state-licensed nurse needs to work at least once per week to develop and monitor care plans.
Staff Training Requirements
New staff members are required to go through an initial orientation process designed to help them become acquainted with the community, staff members, their duties and the residents. Also, communities need to provide disaster preparedness, emergency procedures and fire response training to new staff members within 24 hours of their first day at work.
All staff members and volunteers in direct contact with residents while performing job duties also need specific training, before working with residents. This training includes:
- Basic first-aid procedures to manage care for minor accidents and/or injuries and emergency procedures
- Facility procedures on checking and documenting vital signs (designated staff members only)
- Management and care for residents with contagious or communicable diseases, such as HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis
- Medication management training that includes receiving orders, securing medications, storage and administration of medications, medication interactions and adverse reactions
- How to properly care for residents in the community who have a physical and/or mental condition
- How to use restraints (designated staff members only)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards for dealing with blood-borne pathogens
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — at least one certified CPR staff member should be in the facility at all times
- Confidentiality of resident information and records, as well as a review of the Bill of Rights for Long-Term Care Facilities
In addition, the staff member in charge of resident recreation needs appropriate training before working with residents and must undergo additional training at least once per year.
Background Checks for ALR Staff in South Carolina
South Carolina requires assisted living facilities to complete a background check on all staff members, volunteers and care sitters in the community. To work with residents, staff can't have any prior convictions or have pled no contest to abuse, neglect or exploitation of a child or vulnerable adult.
Requirements for Reporting Abuse
Elder abuse includes physical, psychological and sexual abuse, as well as neglect or exploitation. Staff members of assisted living facilities in South Carolina are trained to spot and report cases of abuse, and assisted living properties are required by law to report possible instances of abuse. Community residents and their loved ones should also report any suspected abuse by contacting the county's Department of Social Services (DSS) office or the local police department. Once contacted, the DSS's Adult Protective Services Program conducts and investigation and provides temporary assistance if needed.
Assisted Living Facilities in South Carolina
Top-Rated Caring Stars Winners in South Carolina
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.
Summit Place of Daniel Island
Charleston, SC Cost Levels
Myrtle Beach Manor
Myrtle Beach, SC Cost Levels
The Gardens at Eastside
Greenville, SC Cost Levels
Myrtle Beach, SC Cost Levels
Spartanburg, SC Cost Levels
The Cascades Verdae
Greenville, SC Cost Levels
West Columbia, SC Cost Levels
Greer, SC Cost Levels
Aiken, SC Cost Levels
Somerby of Mount Pleasant
Mount Pleasant, SC $$$