FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The following represent some of the more frequently asked questions that families must consider when selecting a care giver for a loved one. If you require a more detailed answer or need information specific to your needs, please call us at (724)593-1240. We will help you find the answers you need.
WHEN IS MY PARENT READY FOR A PERSONAL CARE HOME?
In some cases, a prospective resident is looking at assisted living options, but in many other cases, that responsibility falls to a family member or friend. There are many reasons why someone would consider a personal care home. For instance, an individual becomes uncomfortable with living alone due to the possibilities of falling, illness, safety issues, forgetting to take medications, loneliness, poor nutrition, or difficulty taking care of household responsibilities. When you are ready to make a final decision, call and make an appointment to tour our facility. Bring a list of questions and talk to other residents about how they like living at Life's Promise.
WHAT IF I AM INDEPENDENT BUT MY SPOUSE NEEDS TO BE IN ASSISTED LIVING OR NURSING CARE? CAN WE STILL MOVE IN?
The individual that is independent is certainly not a problem. The spouse requiring nursing care must be evaluated to assure that Life's Promise is capable of meeting their needs. If these needs can be met, there are several living accommodations available including living together in a suite or separate rooms.
WHAT COSTS ARE INVOLVED?
Rooms prices vary according to room size, bathroom, location and amenities. Prices also vary between Semi-Private Rooms and Private Rooms.
Resident Care Fees are dependent upon the level of care required.
Additional fees are a one time admission fee and if necessery, a wander guard system bracelet is available for residents who may be an elopement risk.
WHAT TYPES OF PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES ARE AVAILABLE?
There are many activities available for our residents that are coordinated by our activities director. Some of our activities include: bingo, lawn darts, checkers, movie nights, crafts, Sit-Fit exercise program, ice cream socials, tea parties, and social games such as "name that tune", and "who's that star". In addition, there are many seasonal related activities including 4th of July and Memorial Day Barbecues, Carnivals, St. Patrickâ€™s Day and Christmas celebrations. There are regular church related activities as well.
CAN I BRING MY PET?
Unfortunately, no pets may be a permanent resident of the facility. Visiting pets are welcome. If a pet is visiting, a copy of their current vaccination record must be provided to the office
HOW ARE COMPLAINTS HANDLED?
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A PERSONAL CARE HOME AND A NURSING HOME?
The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare provides very good information in this area and we summarize that info here.
Personal Care Homes (PCHs) provide lodging, food and some support services for people who are elderly or who have mental or physical disabilities; who are unable to care for themselves but who do not require 24 hour nursing services in a licensed nursing care facility. Typically, residents of PCHs need help with dressing, feeding, taking medications, mobility issues and finances. In a personal care home, meals are prepared, linens provided and clothes laundered. Residents receive assistance with personal hygiene, with bathing and dressing, with medications, with making phone calls and with correspondence. They may also be offered assistance with obtaining transportation to appointments and help with their personal finances.
Nursing homes are licensed medical facilities that are inspected and licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. They must meet both state and federal standards. There is third party reimbursement mechanisms for those who qualify for services - Medicare and Medicaid. Nursing homes are typically utilized by seniors or those with long-term illnesses or disabilities that are not able to care for themselves and have numerous health care requirements.
Nursing Homes are licensed long-term care facilities that provide 24 hour skilled nursing, assistance with activities of daily living, health services and a number of activities. A resident's plan of care will differ based on his or her needs at the time of admission. Some residents will return home after a short rehabilitative stay following a hospitalization for an illness or accident. Others may require care for an extended period due to the chronic nature of their illness or disabilities. Some facilities offer specialized programs for residents suffering from advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease or other dementia.
WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF RESIDENTS LIVING IN A PERSONAL CARE HOMES?
The Resident Rights are specified in the Personal Care Home regulations. Residents Rights must be posted in a conspicuous and public place in the home. They include:
• A resident may not be discriminated against because of race, color, religious creed, disability, handicap, ancestry, sexual orientation, national origin, age or sex.
• A resident may not be neglected, intimidated, physically or verbally abused, mistreated, subjected to corporal punishment or disciplined in any way.
• A resident shall be treated with dignity and respect.
• A resident shall be informed of the rules of the home and given 30 days written notice prior to the effective date of a new home rule.
• A resident shall have access to a telephone in the home to make calls in privacy. Non-toll calls shall be without charge to the resident.
• A resident has the right to receive and send mail.
• Outgoing mail may not be opened or read by staff persons unless the resident requests.
• Incoming mail may not be opened or read by staff persons unless upon the request of the resident or the resident's designated person.
• A resident has the right to communicate privately with and access the local ombudsman.
• A resident has the right to practice the religion or faith of the resident's choice, or not to practice any religion or faith.
• A resident shall receive assistance in accessing health services.
• A resident shall receive assistance in obtaining and keeping clean, seasonal clothing.
• A resident has the right to access, review and request corrections to the resident's record.
• A resident has the right to furnish his room and purchase, receive, use and retain personal clothing and possessions.
• A resident has the right to leave and return to the home at times consistent with the home rules and the resident's support plan.
• A resident has the right to relocate and to request and receive assistance, from the home, in relocating to another facility.
• A resident has the right to freely associate, organize and communicate with others privately.
• A resident shall be free from restraints.
• A resident shall be compensated in accordance with State and Federal labor laws for labor performed on behalf of the home.
• A resident has the right to receive visitors for a minimum of 12 hours daily, 7 days per week.
• A resident has the right to privacy of self and possessions.
• A resident has the right to file complaints with any individual or agency and recommend changes in policies, home rules and services of the home without intimidation, retaliation or threat of discharge.
• A resident has the right to remain in the home, as long as it is operating with a license.
• A resident has the right to receive services contracted for in the resident-home contract.
• A resident has the right to use both the home's procedures and external procedures to appeal involuntary discharge.
• A resident has the right to a system to safeguard money and property.
• A resident has the right to choose his own health care providers.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN VISITING THE PERSONAL CARE HOME? (FROM THE PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE)
THE RESIDENTS IN THE HOME.
Some homes admit a mixed age population. Some cater to older residents. There are facilities that serve persons with behavioral health issues, dementia and a variety of other disabilities. Do the residents appear comfortable? Are they appropriately dressed? Does their personal hygiene seem acceptable? Are the residents socializing together? Are they provided an opportunity to meet and greet visitors?
Look at the overall appearance of the outside of the PCH. Are the grounds cared for? Are there cleaning and laundry facilities in the home or do they use contract services. Ask to see the bathroom and the kitchen to determine their condition. Are there strong or overpowering unpleasant odors in the home?
ASK TO SHARE A MEAL WITH THE RESIDENTS.
Preferably arrange to visit at a meal time and observe the food preparation and serving. If a special diet is needed does the home offer that service?
Activities are a very important part of the stay in a personal care home. Is there a radio, television, table games, magazines and newspapers? There should be reading materials available in the living area. Is there sufficient lighting for reading? Ask about the opportunities for socialization at the home and in the community. Ask about the location of the nearest senior citizen center, Area Agency on Aging, Mental Health / Mental Retardation Service Unit, stores, malls, church, and available transportation.
THE RESIDENT CONTRACT.
Ask to see the standard contract between the facility and the resident. Read it, and be sure you understand the content. Many contracts have specific restrictions regarding refunds and resident discharge conditions. Every contract must include, but is not limited to: a list of the services provided, the monthly charges for room / board and services, any additional charges, home rules, resident rights, and arrangements for health and emergency services. Be aware that the monthly fee may not include all listed services, and additional charges may be specified in the contract. Often, extra charges apply for such things as shampoos, hair setting and other specialized hair care, nail care, transportation, incontinence care, special diets, assistance with specialized food intake, catheter care, durable medical equipment, pharmacy services, and specialized individual care services beyond the usual contractual commitment for care. Residents who are recipients of SSI receive special contractual protections under state regulations. A SSI personal care resident may not be charged more in their resident contract for rent and other services then their actual current monthly income reduced by the personal needs allowance. The personal needs allowance is a minimum amount of a resident's own funds that must be set aside for his/her personal expenditures. Also, SSI recipient residents, may not be asked to agree to give more than one-half of the annual Senior Citizens Rebate to the facility. Personal care homes must also provide the following items, at no additional charge, to SSI recipient resident: necessary personal hygiene items, such as a comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and shampoo. Personal laundry services and personal care services are also provided free of charge to SSI recipient residents.
Note the available closet space and drawer space. Bear in mind that this room may be shared with another resident. Look at the bed linens, furnishings, and the proximity of the beds. Note the windows and day light provided thought the window coverings. Note the temperature of the rooms and ask how the rooms are heated in cold weather. If summer heat is a concern, inquire if the home is air conditioned. Some homes are not air conditioned and provide fans only. Ask which of the resident bedrooms will be yours. If it is located above or below grade level, remember that steps must be able to be negotiated. A handrail should be present in stairwells and hallways for support.
INTERVIEW THE ADMINISTRATOR (OPERATOR OF THE HOME) AND THE STAFF.
Try to get a feel for the personalities of the people who manage the home and care for the residents. Decide if they are warm and caring people; if they acknowledge the residents by their names; if they welcome visitors and try to make you feel at home. Does the home have a resident committee? How do they handle complaints?
MEDICAL FOLLOW UP
is also very important. Does the home encourage the residents to keep with their own physician or do they have a house doctor that follows the medical needs of the residents? What home health care agencies are available? Pharmacy services are rarely part of the facility, so do they use a local pharmacy or mail order service? There are also questions about durable medical equipment providers, rehabilitative services and emergency medical services that should be asked before admission. If there is a local medical transportation / ambulance service, is there a membership fee?