What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a residential program that provides housing, supervision, personal care services, health related services, or a combination of these to residents who need help performing activities of daily living.  The activities of daily living include bathing, dressing, eating and toileting. The goal of assisted living is to provide the care needed in a way that promotes dignity, independence and choice in a home like setting. Read the Law: MD Code Health - General § 19-1801, COMAR 10.07.14.02

How Do Assisted Living Facilities Differ from Nursing Homes?

Nursing Homes are facilities that care for residents who need rehabilitation, health-related services above the level of room and board, or skilled nursing services. Nursing homes are required to have nurses and other medical staff. Typically, a nursing home resident will need more help and supervision than an assisted living resident. Most assisted living facilities are smaller than nursing homes, and some have only two or three residents.

How is Assisted Living Care Paid For?

Generally, people pay privately for assisted living care using their income and assets. There are limited subsidies to help pay for assisted living in some counties. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging for more information on how to apply. There are also assisted living beds paid for by Medical Assistance under the "Home and Community Based Options Waiver” but there are limited subsidies, a waiting list, and level of care standards that must be met before one is eligible.  Assisted Living in Maryland can cost anywhere from $1000/month to over $5,000/month. The facilities that cost $1000 per month tend to be small homes owned by people who decide to have 1 or 2 people move in with them. The residents will give the owner of the home $1000 in exchange for a room, personal care services, and meals. The larger facilities tend to be more expensive. Most assisted living facilities charge a daily rate and bill you monthly.

Levels of Care

Assisted Living Facilities are licensed by the level of they provide. Level one facilities provide low level of care. Level two facilities are for moderate care. Level three facilities are for people requiring high level of care. Most facilities are licensed for all levels of care. The cost of assisted living will depend on your level. Read the Regulation: COMAR 10.07.14.05

What Rights Do Residents of an Assisted Living Facility Have?

Some of the rights afforded to residents include: right to sign an admissions agreement, which explains what types of services you will receive and the cost; right to make choices about care; right to privacy; right to refuse treatment; right to access your medical records; right to be free of abuse, neglect, and exploitation; right to handle your own finances; right to privacy with visitors of your choice; and the right to make complaints and get timely responses to your complaints.

Where Can You Complain about an Assisted Living Facility?

The Office of Health Care Quality of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is the state agency responsible for licensing facilities and investigating complaints. It can be reached by calling (410) 402-8201. The Long Term Care Ombudsman program provides free advocacy on behalf of assisted living residents. You can reach the program at 1-800-243-3425. Also, the Legal Aid Bureau may be able to provide legal assistance with problems with assisted living. Contact the Maryland Legal Aid Long Term Care Assistance Project at (800) 367-7563.

Source: 

Legal Aid Bureau/Tamara Catchpole, edited by Mary Jo Broussard Speier, Esq., Maryland State Bar Association, Section on Elder Law and Disability Rights

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