Five states (Colorado, Massachusetts, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Washington) have developed consumer guides to assisted living facilities for consumers in their states. Agencies in Alaska, Delaware, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Vermont are developing consumer guides. The guides may list individual facilities and note the fees, services, and accommodations available while others describe assisted living and contain questions to be asked or information consumers should know as they consider assisted living.
As in the managed health care system, assisted living report cards are also an interest of policy makers. Report cards would identify and measure key characteristics of facilities that would assist consumers in selecting the most appropriate facility and create incentives for facilities to maintain or improve quality of care. Two states, Iowa and Vermont, indicated that they were developing report cards, and ten states are interested in developing these tools: Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia. Report cards are contingent on developing aspects of assisted living that are measurable and commonly accepted as measures of quality. To be fair and meaningful, measures such as length of stay, resident turnover rates, reason for discharge, and location after discharge may require adjustments to reflect the functional and cognitive status of residents. Without adjustments for acuity, facilities that serve "lighter need" residents may measure more favorably than those that promote aging-in-place or admit residents with greater health and functional needs.