Assisted living is a special combination of housing and support services designed to respond to the individual needs of people who need help with the activities of daily living but do not need the skilled medical care provided in a nursing home. Assisted living care promotes maximum independence and dignity for each resident and encourages the involvement of the resident's family and friends.
Assisted living programs are regulated by the Maryland Department of Health, Office of Health Care Quality. Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) are licensed to provide a specific level of care related to the needs of the individual.
Choosing an Assisted Living Facility
As you compare Assisted Living Facilities, we hope this list of questions will assure you that the residence you choose will be one that meets your needs.
- As you arrive, do you like the location and outward appearance of the home?
- As you enter the foyer and tour the residence, is the decor attractive and homelike?
- Did you and the potential resident receive a warm greeting from staff welcoming you to the home?
- Does the administrator or staff call residents by name and interact warmly with them?
- Do residents socialize with each other and appear happy and comfortable?
- Are you able to talk with residents about how they like the home and staff?
- Are visits to the home welcome at any time?
- Is the residence clean, free of odors, and appropriately heated or cooled?
- Does the residence meet local and state licensing requirements?
- What is the procedure for assessing a potential resident's need for services and are those needs reassessed periodically?
- Can a resident be discharged for refusing to comply?
- When may a contract be terminated and what are the refund policies?
- Is a contractual agreement available to include accommodations, personal care and support services?
- Are additional services available if the residents needs change?
- Are there different costs for various levels or categories of services?
- What are the billing and payment policies?
- If able, may residents handle their own finances with staff assistance, or should a family member or outside party be designated to do so?
- What personal property is covered by the facility's insurance?
- Is staff available to meet unscheduled needs such as emergency housekeeping or hygiene?
- What is the policy regarding storage and assistance with medications?
- Is staff trained and supervised in medication administration and record keeping?
- Who coordinates home care visits from a nurse, physical therapist or occupational therapist, if needed?
- Are staff available to assist residents who experience memory, orientation, or judgment losses?
- What is the procedure for responding to a resident's medical emergency?
- Are menus designed and approved by a registered dietician?
- Are three nutritionally balanced meals per day, seven days per week provided?
- Are snacks available upon request?
- Are special dietary needs accommodated and restrictions monitored?
- May residents select from a variety of foods at each meal?
- May a resident request special foods?
- May meals be provided at a time the resident requests or are meals served in a congregate setting?
- Are rooms for single and double occupancy available?
- May residents bring their own furnishings for their room and what may they bring?
- May residents smoke? Where?
- Is staff available to provide 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living (dressing, eating, mobility, hygiene and grooming, bathing, shopping, laundry, transportation to doctor, hair dresser, etc.)?
Find an Assisted Living Facility
There are more than 300 Maryland Assisted Living Facilities listed by the Maryland Health Care Commission.
Department of Health (MDH), Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ)
Responsible for licensing and regulation of all Assisted Living Programs.
Baltimore County Department of Aging
Responsible for monitoring Assisted Living Facilities who participate in the Senior Assisted Living Group Home Subsidy Program.
The Ombudsman Program
Investigates resident complaints in Assisted Living Facilities.
Home and Community-Based Waiver Program
To report a problem involving residents receiving a HCBS Medicaid Waiver Subsidy.
Baltimore County Health Department
Responsible for monitoring environmental conditions of Assisted Living Facilities.
Baltimore County Department of Social Services
Responsible for investigating alleged abuse in Assisted Living Facilities.
Medicaid Waiver Home and Community-Based Options
The Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) option provides a waiver for services in the community to qualified low-income adults, age 18 and over. The program will provide individuals, who are at risk of nursing home placement, with the opportunity to obtain needed services in their home or an Assisted Living Facility. To be eligible for this program, an applicant must meet the income and medical needs requirements.
The individual will receive a Medical Assistance card to cover prescriptions, doctor visits and hospitalizations. The HCBS waiver program will cover other services based on need, like in-home care, adult day care, medical supplies and home-delivered meals.
To place your name on the Registry waitlist, contact Maryland Access Point (MAP) of Baltimore County by calling 410-887-2594.
Other Related Programs
Assisted Living at Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Supportive services are a part of the life-care concept of most Retirement Communities. Although most Communities require residents to be capable of independent living when entering the facility, some provide assisted living and nursing care upon entrance. The fee structure may vary, depending on the type of services.
Adult Foster Care and Project Home Assisted Living Programs
These programs provide care for older adults who are mentally ill or frail. Providers go through an in-depth assessment by a social worker, which includes a Health Department inspection and a police record check. These homes are regulated by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and monitored by the local Department of Social Services with monthly contact by a social worker. Adult Foster Care homes are for one to three residents; Project Home programs consist of one to eight residents. Residents are case managed by a social worker, but 24-hour supervision is not provided. Call the Baltimore County Department of Social Services at 410-853-3000.
Nursing homes provide the highest levels of supportive care for seniors and individuals with disabilities. Nursing homes provide 24-hour nursing services, personal care, medication administration and various therapies. Payment sources for nursing home care include private payment, Medical Assistance, Medicare and Long Term Care Insurance. Medical eligibility requirements for Medicare and Medical Assistance are determined by independent review organizations. The Department of Social Services Long Term Care Unit determines financial eligibility for Medical Assistance payment. Call 410-853-3270 for information.