Assisted Living Laws Protect

Washington State’s assisted living laws have been in place for nearly twenty years and have served as a functional model for other states.  Recently, we ran across a policy paper on Washington’s assisted living laws we thought you might find interesting.

Originally enacted in 1994, the regulations were designed to extend the federally protected rights of nursing home, veteran’s home, and boarding home residents.  Two of the guiding principles include that resident rights be meaningful and that assisted living facilities provide reasonable accommodations for the changing needs and preferences of the residents.  Washington State also instituted a meaningful system of enforcement.

Based on a policy study of our assisted living laws, the Assisted Living Consumer Alliance (ALCA), a national advocacy organization, terminology in Washington laws may still have some room for improvement, but, evidently, the laws are better than those of numerous states, so the ALCA encourages customer advocates to push for better clarification of the laws in all states.

In May 2012, we blogged about terminology clarifications . . . the state redefined the legal definition of an assisted living center.  Effective June 7 of this year, adult family homes are no longer included in that term.  Instead, the term is now used for boarding homes . . . Clarification of terminology, while confusing at times, is necessary in order to better reinforce pertinent laws and regulations for the safety and health of assisted living residents.

The terminology may be confusing, but the resident rights are meaningful and specific.  This, in part, allows for the regulation of assisted living facilities in order to adequately protect a potentially vulnerable population.  Washington State has been “a useful model for other states looking to protect the civil rights and safety of assisted living residents.”

There are many levels of care within the senior housing options, each responsible to uphold regulations specific to their licensure.  As experts in the field, it’s our job to know those specific regulations on your behalf as we assist in finding the right placement for our clients.

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