Pennsylvania provides many services for people who may need help in their day-to-day lives. These programs are offered through different state agencies and county organizations. The best place to learn about the programs that may be available to you a by visiting your local county assistance office (CAO).
What is a Personal Care Home?
Personal Care Homes (PCHs) are residences that provide shelter, meals, supervision and assistance with personal care tasks, typically for older people, or people with physical, behavioral health, or cognitive disabilities who are unable to care for themselves but do not need nursing home or medical care. While available services vary and are based on the individual needs of each resident, services provided at a typical PCH include assistance with:
- Walking/getting in and out of bed or chair
- Toileting/bowel and bladder management
- Personal hygiene
- Arranging for and managing health care
- Making/keeping doctor's appointments
- Assisting with or administering medications
- Positioning in bed or chair
- Doing laundry
- Arranging for transportation
- Shopping/managing finances
- Using the telephone/writing letters
- Caring for possessions
- Participating in social/recreational activities
- Using prosthetics
- Getting and caring for seasonal clothes
Personal Care Homes are inspected and licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. They are usually privately-owned, although some are operated by local governments or non-profit agencies. In Pennsylvania, homes may be licensed to care for as few as four people and as many as several hundred.
To find information on a Personal Care Home near you see the Personal Care Home Directory.
Choosing the Right Personal Care Home
Choosing a Personal Care Home for yourself or a loved one is an important task. The Personal Care Home Directory can be searched by zip code, county and region of the state to help you locate a licensed home in your area. The directory also includes the size and licensing status of each licensing PCH in Pennsylvania.
Checking to be sure that a PCH is licensed is the best way to ensure that the home receives regular inspections of its physical site and service delivery. Other major factors to consider include:
- Location: Proximity to family, friends, shopping, public transportation, church, library and other community resources.
- Size: Both large and small homes offer advantages depending on the potential resident's lifestyle and preferences.
- Cost: Monthly fees and service charges can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
Once major considerations are decided upon, it is advisable to visit several Personal Care Homes, during various times of day, before deciding on a home. When visiting a PCH, it may be helpful to:
- Visit several times at different times of day and night.
- Visit as many rooms as possible.
- Ask about staff training and qualifications.
- Ask how long staff have worked at the home.
- Watch and listen to how staff talk to and interact with residents. Do they treat residents with respect?
- Read and ask questions about the home rules regarding smoking, pets, visitation and other requirements.
- Review the activities schedule and watch activities in progress.
- Speak to people who live there and to the staff and the administrator.
- Read the menu and observe a meal.
- Review resident contract provisions.
- Ask about optional services and additional fees, if any.
View the Personal Care Homes Directory listed alphabetically, by county and region.
Personal Care Homes are inspected and licensed by the Department of Human Services under the requirements contained in 55 Pa. Code Chapter 2600. These regulations include requirements for fire safety; staff training and education; nutrition and meal preparation; resident health and medical care; personal care service delivery; physical site conditions; and other factors affecting the health, safety, and well-being of residents.
The Department inspects each PCH annually and conducts investigations into complaints and unusual incidents. Questions regarding the licensing status and history of specific PCHs can be directed to the Department's appropriate Regional Offices.