For most people, deciding their long-term care needs – or those of someone they love – can be difficult and confusing. The good news is, Pennsylvanians have a robust continuum of care available to them, ranging from home care to nursing home care. Whatever your or your loved one’s needs, there is quality care available in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Health Care Association created this section of our website to help you better understand the different levels of long-term care so that you and your family can make the best choice. Our goal is to help ensure that all Pennsylvanians receive high-quality, compassionate care in the most appropriate setting for their unique needs.
What You Should Know About:
Long-Term Care in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvanians are fortunate to have a robust continuum of care available to them. At one end of the spectrum is home care and care provided in a community setting, such as adult day care. At the other end of the spectrum is nursing home care. In the middle are personal care homes and assisted living residences.
- NURSING HOMES provide 24-hour continuous health care services as well as room and board. The health care services include basic and skilled nursing care, rehabilitation and a full range of other programs, treatments and therapies such as occupational therapy and physical therapy. Nursing homes also manage complex medical needs that require equipment, such as ventilators and IV lines.
- ASSISTED LIVING RESIDENCES provide an apartment-like setting that allows individuals to age in place and receive the assistance they need to maintain maximum independence and personal choice. These residences provide assisted living services such as: meals, laundry, housekeeping, transportation services, and basic cognitive support services. Additionally assisted living residences must provide or arrange for other types of health care services such as hospice services, occupational therapy, skilled nursing services, physical therapy, behavioral health services, home health services, escort services and specialized cognitive support services.
- PERSONAL CARE HOMES are residences that provide housing and meals for individuals – typically older people or people with physical, behavioral health or cognitive disabilities – who are unable to care for themselves but do not need 24/7 nursing home or medical care. Available services are based on the individual needs of the resident but can include assistance with daily living activities including bathing, dressing or going to the bathroom.
- HOME CARE agencies provide non-skilled services to individuals in their homes or other independent living environments. Home care may include assistance with self-administered medications; personal care assistance such as bathing, feeding and hygiene; assistance with housekeeping, shopping, meal planning and preparation, and transportation; and respite care including support to the family.
- HOME HEALTH CARE agencies provide health care services to ill, disabled, or vulnerable individuals in their homes or places of residence, enabling them to live as independently as possible. Home health care services include nursing care; home health aide care; and physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services.
- HOSPICE is a coordinated program of palliative and supportive care for those with a limited life expectancy. It can be provided in a nursing home, assisted living residence, personal care home, individual’s home or at a hospice facility.
Each setting offers services tailored to the needs of the individual. The most important consideration when trying to decide what is right for you or your loved one is your unique situation. For example, the elderly resident often has different needs than the younger resident. Some residents, such as those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, may have different needs, preferences and desires that need to be considered in the selection of an appropriate facility. Families that live far away from loved ones, or who work full time, may make different choices than families who live next door. The most important thing is choosing what’s appropriate for your own situation.