I am looking into assisted living facilities for my mother. What is the difference between assisted living facilities, residential care facilities, retirement homes, and board and care homes? What agency oversees these facilities and how are they licensed?
In California, there are several types of facilities for seniors. Residential care facilities for the elderly are state-regulated and are non-medical long-term care options for seniors. Also known as retirement homes, or board and care homes, assisted living facilities offer seniors a supervised residential alternative to nursing home care.
Facilities that provide housing and assisted living services, such as bathing, grooming or supervision for adults 60 years or older are called RCFEs per California Administrative Code Title 22 section 87101. Facilities that offer a long-term continuing care contract, which includes skilled nursing services are also licensed as RCFE but have a separate certificate from the state to provide these services.
California Administrative Code Title 22 section 87107 identifies facilities that are exempt from licensing such as primary care clinics or a personal home where care is provided by the family.
The California Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Division licenses and inspects RCFEs. Inspections take place annually or when a complaint is lodged against a facility. If you want to review a facility’s file, it is recommended that you contact the regional office ahead of time so staff can prepare the file for review. You can review up to three files per visit. If you cannot visit a regional office, they may mail you a copy for a fee.