As attorneys specialized in prosecuting elder abuse and wrongful death cases, we are often asked what are the various types of facilities that provide care to elderly or disabled patients. The following is a brief description of 4 types of facilities.

Independent Living: An independent living community is housing designed for seniors generally 55 years and older. This is an option if a resident does not require assistance with daily activities; does not need skilled nursing at all times; like social environments and conveniences aimed toward making their lives easier. This is an option for residents that do not need help with medication, bathing, daily functions. Living arrangements can be simple or extensive and generally consist of apartments, cottages, condos, or small homes.

Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE): An RCFE is a facility that provides custodial care to persons who are unable to live independently due to physical, mental, or emotional disorders but do not need 24 hour nursing or in-house therapy services. It is usual for an RCFE to consist of less than 10 patients, although large chain facilities offer over 100 beds. In an RCFE, a patient will receive assistance and supervision of basic daily tasks such as hygiene, dressing and undressing, eating, and medication distribution. While RCFE’s provide a minimal level of care, they are not considered medical facilities and thus are not required to have nurses, nurse’s assistants, or doctors staffed at their facility. Assisted living facilities and board and care homes are all licensed as RCFE’s under Title 22.

Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF): This is the highest level of care for the elderly or disabled outside of a hospital. A skilled nursing facility usually has elderly or rehabilitation patients and provides long-term nursing care, rehabilitation and other services. A SNF is a medical model facility with a Medical Director, Administrator and Director of Nurses who oversee the facility operations. An individual recovery from an acute condition (example, hip surgery or pneumonia) or an individual with ongoing medical needs (stroke victims) are typical residents of SNF facilities. They are required by law to have written policies and procedures to ensure professional consultation. The law requires that these policies designate which level of caregiver is responsible for implementation of each policy, that the care of every patient be under the supervision of a physician, that a physician be available on an emergency basis, that the medical records be maintained, and that nursing service be available 24 hours a day.

Sub-acute Care Facilities: “Sub-acute” refers to a medical condition that is not as quickly developing as “acute” conditions, but also not a “chronic” condition (example: emphysema is a chronic illness while a fractured hip is an acute illness). This is a relatively new breed of facility due to Medicare’s change in reimbursement rates where nursing homes have learned that they can make more money by accepting patients who need more specialized care and services. The level of care needed by the patient does not rise to the level of hospital acute care, but they require more than the majority of patients in a skilled nursing facility. Patients are generally medically fragile and require special services, such as inhalation therapy, tracheotomy care, intravenous tube feeding, and complex wound management care.

York Law Firm is comprised of Sacramento based lawyers that handle elder abuse and wrongful death cases. If you believe your loved one has been the victim of elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home or assisted living facility, or believe your family has a wrongful death claim, please call our office so that we can investigate your case at 916-643-2200 or contact us online. We are dedicated to representing families whose elders and dependent adults who have been injured, neglected or abused

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