Understanding the Two Types of Georgia Senior Care Facilities
The Assisted Living Community (ALC) will have greater than 25 beds and will meet fairly stringent fire and building codes.
The personal care home (PCH) ranges from 2 beds to more than 200 beds. The most noticeable differences are size and building construction. The law requires that both facility types meet every resident’s needs.
What is the difference between an ALC and a PCH?
Great question. The new law required that “meaningful distinctions” be defined. However, many of us in the industry are still challenging the State on their success in that endeavor.
Other than size and fire/building codes, what really are the meaningful distinctions?
Ease of Aging in Place is the main difference. This has always been an important principle in assisted living. No one wants to move Mom more than necessary. ALC’s are permitted to retain non-ambulatory residents without special permission from the state. PCH’s are also permitted; however must obtain a State-granted waiver for each resident who can no longer self-propel a wheelchair to safety. In either setting, seniors are able to Age in Place.
Why select a smaller home for senior care?
Small home owners say 80% of their customers move to the PCH from the bigger places, citing inadequacy of care as the number one reason. This may be because staffing ratios in the smaller homes are generally much lower (better) and because the owner-operator concept drives greater accountability for resident care outcomes. Initially the changes confused the market, but now people generally understand that most senior living needs can be met in either type of facility.
Understanding the Industry
Small care home businesses face intense competitive pressure, like any small business, and one of our competitors is the Nursing Home industry. The Nursing Home Lobby in Georgia is powerful, and has the motivation and resources to keep alternative care settings at bay. The State regulators find it costly to regulate, survey, and monitor small homes and would likely prefer to focus their monitoring efforts on larger, more visible facilities. The larger senior care facilities resent that small care homes keep prices down through lower overhead. The nursing homes want our most fragile residents as their own customers. Small care homes provide a valuable, needed service to their communities, but it’s not easy.
You decide which setting is best for you!