Advocacy

Due to the absence of national standards for assisted living and significant differences among the states, consumers are faced with a situation that can be confusing and that has a high potential for misunderstanding and even fraud.  For instance, an individual might need help taking medication.  How, and by whom, is it determined whether she is self-directing or needs substantial “medication management”?  Who is legally capable of providing that level of help?  Who is responsible if there is a problem?  What happens if she requires more care as time goes on?  Can the facility ask her to leave?  Can she appeal that decision? What happens if she runs out of money?

As a result of these and other issues, assisted living advocacy takes many forms. Advocacy can focus on issues ranging from quality of health and personal care to contractual rights to landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities.  Following is an overview of some key assisted living advocacy issues, on both policy and individual consumer levels.  We invite you to check this page in the future for updates on our advocacy work and for information on what consumers and consumer advocates can do.

Study of Residential Care Facility Residents in 2010

The Division of Health Care Statistics and the Long-Term Care Statistics Branch recently released Data Brief #91, Residents Living in Residential Care Facilities in the United States: 2010.  The report presents national estimates of RCF residents based on various characteristics, including demographics, Medicaid participation and charges, limitations in activities of daily living, and common chronic conditions.  ...

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Advocacy

Assisted living poses unique opportunities and challenges for long-term care ombudsmen.  The National Long Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center’s paper, Translating Nursing Home Ombudsman Skills to Assisted Living: Something Old, Something New, is a good resource for ombudsmen interested in meeting these challenges (http://www.ltcombudsman.org/sites/default/files/norc/Translating-NH-Ombudsman-Skills-to-Assisted-Living.pdf).

Regulation & Oversight

Laws and regulations provide the crucial bases for consumer protections, but they are meaningful only with good oversight and regulatory enforcement.  Advocacy can include directly engaging state agency officials who are responsible for oversight (informing them of problems and violations, holding them accountable for strong oversight, etc.) as well as working to improve regulatory oversight by ...

Law

States regulate assisted living in very different ways, in part, because they define assisted living differently.  Even the names used by states to identify these facilities are different, with common terms including adult homes, enriched housing, senior residences, and congregate housing.  An important avenue for advocacy on the state level is working with state leaders to ensure ...