Starting a Personal Care Home

Personal Care Homes, also called Assisted Living Facilities, are residential homes or apartments for senior citizens or individuals with intellectual disabilities, cognitive disabilities or “mental retardation”. These Personal Care Homes are designed to provide shelter, 3 nutritious meals a day, laundry services, hygiene assistance, ADL’s, and transportation. Some offer activities like arts and crafts, exercise, church services, outdoor trips, movie night, etc.

Personal Care Homes are often recommended to Senior Citizens by their children, physicians, family members, social workers, hospital discharge planners, or themselves. Most seniors who are having difficulty staying home alone are ideal candidates for this program. Some find that they are falling more and becoming a danger to themselves. Others might find that they are forgetful, confused or disoriented at times. Still others desire the social interaction with their peers in a safe, clean, and loving environment.

Nowadays, adult children are unable to care for their aging parents due to their own busy schedules, lack of financial resources, or due to the long distance that separates them from their parents. Personal Care Homes offer a great alternative to living without their own family. In some states like Georgia, a Personal Care Home can have as few as 6 residents in the home which offer much more one on one interaction and care. Most of the residents have their own room in which they can bring personal touches from home such as pictures for the wall, curtains, bed linens, toiletries, and some small furniture.

Residential services to those with “mental retardation” or more appropriately, “developmental disabilities or intellectual disabilities” are a great option for those adults, ages 19 and over, who desire to live alone or whose family is ready for them to make a transition to more independence. Although, living in a Personal Care Home is not living alone, it offers support and guidance to those who have always lived with a family member or in an institution for many years. It is extremely important that the staff at the Personal Care Home are especially sensitive to this population who have often experienced abuse, neglect and institutionalized living for most of their life. The transition period may take longer than it would for a Senior Citizen, so great care and patience must be a priority and no tolerance for neglectful, harsh or abusive language or actions should be accepted by the Personal Care Home management.

Individuals with intellectual disabilities often attend programs during the day time hours to learn new skills and often have jobs with real employers providing real pay. These jobs may be menial or tedious for some, but for this population bagging groceries, stuffing envelopes, gathering shopping carts, putting small plastic pieces together in a factory are rewarding and stimulating jobs to have.

Of course, like everything else, there is a financial cost associated with Personal Care Homes. Most seniors use their pensions, retirement or social security income to pay the cost for this service. The fees for Senior Citizens range greatly from Personal Care Home to Personal Care Home. In Georgia, for instance, a small PCH of 6 residents may charge anywhere from $1,300 per month to $2,000 per month. The price is sometimes determined by the location of the home, the size of the room (private or semi-private) and the services offered. Some PCH owners make special concessions to those who cannot pay the full price. Others use State programs like Medicaid funded programs that can supplement the cost if the Senior meets their eligibility requirements. The owner of the PCH will need to apply with the Medicaid program (SOURCE or CCSP etc)  in order to be a Provider for this service. Usually each state will have a Department of Human Resources, Department of Community Health or Department of Behavior and Developmental Disabilities) or something similar that can provide information on how to become a medicaid provider for residential services for the elder population.

Often, the individual with a developmental disability already has a Medicaid Waiver which grants them a certain amount of funding toward residential services. It is the waiver that allows payment to the Personal Care Home provider. This population often has a Support Coordinator or a Case Manager who helps them to make life choices and help apply for Medicaid Waivers and other programs suitable for their individual needs. They even help the individual choose which PCH they want to reside in. Again, the PCH owner has to apply with the State in order to become a Medicaid Provider for this population and to receive payment for the services. The applicant must be qualified to become a medicated provider or he or she will have to hire qualified professionals to help with this endeavor.

Of course, the state is the first place to contact when you are ready to explore opening a PCH. This work is not easy, it requires a 24 hour commitment and loving care for those that live there. It is constant cooking, cleaning, bathing, laundry and loving interaction. It’s also helping with doctor appointments, medication compliance and coordination of services.

The State will send out a booklet providing the guidelines and rules on Personal Care Homes. In Georgia, it is the Health Care Regulatory services who will send out all the information you need to get started or you may have to go to their website for an application. Use these guidelines to write your own home’s Policy and Procedures. Create the standard that you want in your home.

My advice is to write the Policy and Procedures before getting a home. This allows time to write without feeling pressured. If you get a house first, you will have to pay on a mortgage or rent while you are putting your Policies together. Also, start purchasing the furniture before you get a house. If you begin to accumulate what you need now, just store it until you are ready to move in. Many owners purchase their furniture from second-hand stores, garage sales or even from friends. Have church members, family members, coworkers and friends donate furniture to you. Be sure to tell them what you need or you’ll end up with lot of stuff you don’t need.

Some PCH owners purchase their homes for this business, while other do a lease-purchase which allows them to pay as they go. Others find success in renting a house as long as the owner is aware of what you will be using the house for and signing an affidavit that supports the agreement. Still some use the home they live in as both a PCH and their family home.

This information is just enough to get the ideas flowing. Please respond to this blog, offer insight, corrections, updates and other information that one can use in starting a Personal Care Home. Your comments are most appreciated.

I will share more information as we go along.  Let me know what topics you are most interested in.

Thanks

What’s your WHY?

I bet you are on this blog post, obviously, because you have a burning desire to do something different. You want to impact lives in a big way and want to provide great care to those that need just a little help and support, right?

In order to do that you should know, or at least, have a general idea about what drives you. Why do you want to do what you want to do?  In others words, what’s your why?

To help you figure this out, go ahead and ask yourself these few questions. Once you have taken some time out to really think about this, you should have your why question answered for you. Get ready, get set….go!!

So, what’s the mission of your business?

Why does your business exist?

What purpose does your business provide?

What problem do you solve?

Now, go  ahead and answer these few questions. If you get stuck, no worries, just think about it while taking a walk, a shower or when meditating. Your friends and family might also help you to remember why you want to get into this business (remember folks, it is a business). So, don’t be afraid to ask them. They may help to remind you of your qualities, experience, knowledge, gentleness, etc.

What ever your why is, it’s unique to just you!

 

10 Basic things you MUST have in your PCH

Every home is different and should provide supports and services to meet the unique needs of the residents. As you begin to think about what population you plan to support, it will become clear what items you will need to help your clientele feel comfortable, safe and right at home.

If you are supporting children, consider what you need in the home to effectively support children. Keep in mind that the needs of the adolescent teen are very different from the needs of small children.

For homes that are set up as Memory Care programs, its important to consider safety measures for residents at risk of wandering or elopement.

Whether you are planning to operate a personal care home for senior citizens, children, homeless veterans, or people with mental health challenges there are basic items that every PCH should have to ensure the health and safety of its residents..

Below are 10 basic items you must have in your home.

These are the basics and not in any way the only safety items needed. This list is not exhaustive. There are and will be many other items that are required by your licensing board, state government or that you personally find useful.

  1. Smoke Detectors
  2. Carbon Monoxide
  3. Fire Extinguishers
  4. Fire Ladder
  5. First Aid Kit
  6. Emergency Food Supply
  7. Flash lights
  8. Batteries
  9. Wheel Chair Ramps
  10. Bedside Commode

If your regulations allow it, you may need door alarms and arm bracelet for those at risk of wandering or eloping.

So check our the rules and regulations in your area for setting up and operating a personal care home and go get what you need!

 

 

Difference between a Personal Care Home and Assisted Living Community

Many people use the terms ‘Assisted Living Community’ and ‘Personal Care Home’ interchangeably. But did you know that there is difference?

A few years ago, Georgia  for instance, decided that they would not give a permit to a PCH that had the term ‘Assisted Living’ in its title.

For example an owner could not call their home “My House XYZ Assisted Living PCH”. In fact, some owners were required to remove the title from their PCH, that must have sucked!

When naming your PCH (Personal Care Home) make sure you do not use the term ‘Assisted Living’ in its title unless it truly is an Assisted Living Community. Check the rules and regulations for your state if you are not in Georgia.

So what is the difference you ask?

Well,  an Assisted living Community is a Personal Care Home but its for homes with 25 or more beds (that’s why its a COMMUNITY)! These are larger scale facilities that offer a myriad of services and supports.

If you have or considering less than 25 residents in your home, well you might be a PCH. In most cases, PCH’s are homes that support 2-10 people (depending on your area rules and regulations). Anything more than that is some other type of residential care arrangement.

In any event, check with the local licensing board in your area to confirm if this is true for you.

Hope this helps bring more clarity to your business vision!

 

Need Clarity? Lets connect!

I know how tough it is getting a PCH off the ground. You gotta get a house, furniture, permits, inspections, zoning, and people in it!

Stop making yourself dizzy and crazy from the uncertainty of it all.

I’ve given tons and tons of information already on this blog to help you for free but sometimes that’s still not enough.

For me, having that personal touch is essential to my understanding and feeling comfortable. Maybe that’s true for you too.

Anyway, go ahead and send me an email if you need a clarity call. I’ll give you a FREE 15 minute clarity call  if that will make you feel a little more confident and clear about your goals to owning a personal care home.

This post will be taken down soon so act fast because I really can’t do this for an extended period of time, sounds fair?

I’ll be looking out for your email.

Email me at pchpolicies@gmail.com

Talk to you soon!

butterfly woman

Let’s Define Ownership

If you are or planning to be an owner of a Personal Care Home you should know the definition (according to Georgia Regs.) of an owner.

An “Owner” means any individual or any person affiliated with a corporation, partnership, or association with 10 percent or greater ownership interest in the facility providing care to persons under the license of the facility in this state and who:

1. purports to or exercises authority of the owner in a facility; or

2. applies to operate or operates a facility; or

3. maintains an office on the premises of a facility; or

4. resides at a facility; or

5. has direct access to persons receiving care at a facility; or

6. provides direct personal supervision of facility personnel by being immediately

available to provide assistance and direction during the time such facility services are being

provided; or

7. enters into a contract to acquire ownership of a facility.

Personal Care Home or Community Living Arrangement?

I think its admirable that you are considering opening a personal care home, or is it a community living arrangement?  Which one is right for you?

Community Living Arrangements (CLA) are for people with developmental disabilities only. In Georgia you can only have up to 4 adults living together with a developmental/intellectual disabilities in a CLA.

Is the home you have, approved with the zoning board?  Are the people you admit compatible with one another?  Do they have extreme behaviors that jeopardize their own health and safety as well as those around them. Important things to think about, right?.

Are you experience in the area of Developmental, Intellectual and other Mental Health issues. Look into this career path very seriously as it is a very challenging area to get into. If you do not have any experience then you will have a team that does.  This can be costly but someone must know the ins and outs of this population or you are setting yourself up to fail.

For me, I love it but it is very challenging work. There are countless rules and regulations to adhere to, but with the right team, you can do it!