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What is Personal Care?

How Personal Care is Different from Nursing Homes and Assisted Living

When looking for a place for mom or dad, whether it be an assisted living apartment, personal care community, or other senior care community, we know that you have questions.  You may want to know how an assisted living facility, personal care center, or independent living community may be the best fit for your needs.  Also, you may want to know the difference between a personal care community and an assisted living facility or when it is time to choose a senior living community.

In many states, assisted living is the same across the board. All centers are licensed the same and can provide the same assistance for seniors. However, in Kentucky that isn't the case. There are seven types of long-term care options including assisted living and personal care. What services can be provided are different based on the license or certification of the facility.

We know choosing senior care can be tough. By learning the difference between a personal care community, an assisted living facility, and a nursing home, you can find the best option for a senior in your life.

Three Differences Between Assisted Living Facilities and Personal Care Communities
  1. LICENSE or CERTIFICATION:  Personal care homes are licensed by the Office of Inspector General, while assisted living communities are certified by the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living.
  2. NURSING STAFF: Personal care homes provide 24/7 nursing staff for continuous supervision of residents, basic health and health-related services, personal care services, residential care services, and social and recreational activities. Kentucky assisted living centers are not required and typically do not include nurses on staff. When an emergency happens, having a nurse on site is something many seniors - and their families - desire for peace of mind.
  3.  MODEL OF CARE: An assisted living community is a model of care providing socialization for individuals who can mainly manage most activities of daily living by themselves but may need some assistance including reminders for medication.  

For medication, assisted living employees can remind someone to take medication, read labels, help open the medication containers and store the medication but can't touch the actual medication, determine or administer dosages, give injections, or advise about the appropriateness of the medication. Residents must directly arrange with an outside agency or individual to receive those services, such as a pharmacist, doctor, home health agency or another qualified person of their choice. Often residents who need more help than assisted living can provide must move to a personal care licensed community.

A personal care licensed community is more of a medical model of care that not only encompasses the socialization of an assisted living facility but also provides additional medical assistance including medication disbursement (not just reminders) and other nursing services such as diabetes management and insulin shot injection. Because more aid is typically needed as a person ages, a personal care community is well-equipped to handle additional assistance an individual may require. Personal care is often thought to be the best of both worlds.

For both communities, individuals must be ambulatory or be mobile nonambulatory, such as able to get around with a walker or in a wheelchair without assistance. Residents must also be able to feed themselves.

Learn more about Assisted Living and Personal Care Communities.

Difference between Assisted Living/Personal Care and a Nursing Home
Today's nursing homes are often called skilled nursing facilities and include a bevy of clinical team members such as licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, and certified nursing aides to provide medical care. In a skilled nursing center, therapy staff provides physical, occupational, and speech therapy for rehabilitation based on a physician's orders. A skilled nursing facility is a place for individuals who don't need to be in a hospital but can't be cared for at home.

Residents of a skilled nursing facility may have significant cognitive impairments, require extensive personal care, and require daily medical care. A nursing home may be the best location for an individual who needs a lot of medical attention. Unlike an assisted living or personal care community, nursing home residents are not required to be mobile or feed themselves.

In a skilled nursing facility, housekeeping, meals, and laundry are provided for the resident. Individuals may be housed in semi-private/shared rooms or private rooms. Room availability is dependent on the facility. Unlike most assisted living communities where private pay is the form of payment, payment for a nursing home stay may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, insurance, or private pay.

Assisted living and personal care communities in Kentucky are defined and regulated differently than nursing homes, although some of the same services are provided. At all three centers staff members can assist with activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, and transferring). However, nursing homes can deliver additional health care services, while a client in an assisted living community must directly arrange with an outside agency or individual to receive health care services. Generally speaking, assisted living and personal care communities offer more privacy and independence because each client has an apartment with a lockable door, private bathroom and usually an individual thermostat control.

Contact Exceptional Senior Living
Learn how Exceptional Senior Living, a licensed personal care community, serves seniors in Louisville, KY. Call (502) 907-3778 to schedule a tour today!