What is an adult care home?
An adult care home is what we used to call a rest home. It is a place for the elderly to just get some help with basic needs. Sometimes the elderly really want to stay as independent as possible. They would love to stay in their own homes, but they are starting to forget things. Maybe, they are forgetting to pay bills, leaving the stove on, forgetting to take medications, etc. They can do a lot of things and typically don't have a lot of severe health problems. This type of elderly person just needs some supervision and a little help, and that is what an adult care home is supposed to provide.
Adult care homes should provide help with bathing, dressing, making sure that the elderly eat properly and take their medications. Adult care homes are a step down from assisted living facilities and skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes that can provide more advanced levels of care and supervision. Adult care homes are monitored by your county DSS with some further indirect oversight by the "state" DHSR. If you want more information from the state, here is their link for Adult Care Homes. Local DSS will send in Adult Home Specialists to ensure that adult care homes are doing what they are supposed to do.
The following is a summary description provided by DHSR of the differences between adult care homes and nursing homes:
"Adult Care Homes" provide care and assistance to people with problems carrying out activities of daily living and supervision to people with cognitive impairments whose decisions, if made independently, may jeopardize the safety or well-being of themselves or others and therefore require supervision. Medication in an adult care home may be administered by designated, trained staff. Smaller adult care homes that provide care to two to six unrelated residents are commonly called family care homes.
"Nursing Homes" are for people who need chronic or rehabilitative care, who, on admission are not acutely ill and who do not usually require special facilities such as an operating room, X-ray facilities, laboratory facilities, and obstetrical facilities. A "nursing home" provides care for people who have remedial ailments or other ailments, for which medical and nursing care are indicated; who, however, they are not sick enough to require general hospital care. Nursing care is their primary need, but they will require continuing medical supervision.
Unfortunately, there is one major problem with some adult care homes today- they have such a great desire to make money by filling all of their beds some homes are admitting elderly that should not be there and are not caring for them properly once they arrive. Some adult care homes can be fairly large with many beds to fill. Any empty bed means less money for the home. Many adult care homes are often really operated by large corporations. These large corporations have an intense focus on profits and put this pressure on their homes. So, local homes will often start just "getting bodies in the beds" and then work out the details later. The state compiles a List of Penalties for adult care homes across the state, you can click there to see if your home is on that list.
If homes cut corners to fill beds, the elderly will not have proper assessments at admission. These homes will not fully identify the needs of these patients. They will not come up with a Care Plan to care for them. Sometimes, they will not even get a doctor to sign off on treatment plans or medication orders. There is a trend toward this type of financially driven home. If corporate homes can run cheaper and more profitably than our good individually run "mom and pop" homes, then they have a competitive advantage.
In addition to failing to provide assessments, failing to monitor the elderly, failing to care for them, some adult care homes are admitting many that simply don't belong there. Adult care homes are like our old rest homes, and they are not supposed to provide 24-hour nursing care or care for people with complex conditions. People are living longer due to advances in modern medicine. Many elderly have significant health conditions that require specific treatments and supervision. Some adult care homes are admitting elderly persons who have medical conditions or disease processes that are too complicated for this low level of care. However, there is that constant drive to fill beds sometimes trumps common sense and the law itself. The law requires that the elderly with complicated medical conditions go to a full nursing home, but some adult care homes will just take them anyway. If that happens, these elderly will not receive the care that they need. These elderly can also be very disruptive to the patients that are already there. So, make sure that you speak to your doctors, social workers, and local Ombudsmen to determine proper placement for yourself or someone you love.