Last year, the State of Pennsylvania instituted changes in legislation regarding the usage of the term “assisted living” in Pennsylvania. Prior to this, many people used the terms interchangeably. There are now distinct differences between the two.

Assisted Living Residences Defined

An Assisted Living Residence is any premise in which food, shelter, assisted living services, assistance or supervision and supplemental health care services is provided for a period exceeding 24 hours for four or more adults who are not relatives of the operator, who require assistance or supervision in matters such as dressing, bathing, diet financial management, evacuation from the residence in the event of an emergency or medication prescribed for self-administration.

An Assisted Living Residence in Pennsylvania is “a significant long-term care alternative to allow individuals to age in place…and develop and maintain maximum independence, exercise decision-making and personal choice.”

Personal Care Homes Defined

A Personal Care Home is a premise in which food, shelter, and personal assistance or supervision are provided for a period exceeding 24 hours, for four or more adults who are not relatives of the operator, who do not require the services in or of a licensed long-term care facility, but who do require assistance or supervision in activities of daily living or instrumental activities of daily living.

The Main Differences: The Three Cs

While “assisted living” is available at Personal Care Homes, there are three main differences between the two types of facilities:

Concept – An Assisted Living Residence is specifically designed to allow residents enjoying assisted living in Pennsylvania to “age in place,” meaning that they will not be relocated to a different long-term care facility when their needs increase.

Construction – In a Personal Care Home, residents live in bedrooms that may be shared with up to three other people. An Assisted Living Residence room is akin to a studio apartment in the sense that the resident will have a private living space with their own kitchen and bathroom.

Care Levels – In line with the first difference, Assisted Living Residences offer changing services so that a resident may advance to a nursing home level of care when necessary. When living in a Personal Care Home, a person whose health needs become too great will be transferred to a skilled nursing facility, as a Personal Care Home is prohibited from providing acute medical care.

“Aging in Places” at Allied Services

Before the new definition, Allied Terrace was defined as an assisted living facility. While it is now defined as a Personal Care Home, all of the services previously available to residents are still available. And because Allied Integrated Health System offers medical and rehabilitation care through Allied Rehab Hospital inpatient and outpatient services, as well as Home Health services when needed, Allied Terrace residents are close to the care that may allow them to delay transfer to skilled nursing.

Should skilled nursing care be required for a resident of the Terrace, Allied offers residents the option to transfer to its Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. For those Terrace residents who are married or have developed close friendships, facing separation can be very hard. Having both types of residences on one campus makes visiting and staying in touch much easier on seniors at Allied.