State Assisted Living Policy: 1998. Pennsylvania



Personal care homes PC Title 55 Chapter 2620 and Chapter 20.

General Approach

A task force has been formed by the Department of Aging and the Department of Public Welfare and is considering options for creating a new licensure category. A report was presented to the Interagency Long Term Care Council in June with recommendations dealing with regulation, funding and quality. The next step is to determine whether additional legislation is needed and to determine the fiscal impact of the recommendations.

The Department of Public Welfare currently licenses 1,696 personal care homes with a total of 62,24-hour1 beds. The Department of Aging has certified 925 domiciliary care homes with 2,900 beds.


Personal care homes "A premises in which food, shelter and personal assistance or supervision are provided for a period exceeding 24-hours for four or more adults who are not relatives of the operator, who do not require the services in or of a licensed long term facility, but who do require assistance or supervision in matters such as dressing, bathing, diet, financial management, evacuation of a residence in the event of an emergency or medication prescribed for self-administration."

Unit Requirements

The regulations require single occupancy rooms to have at least 80 square feet of floor space. If closets are built, they must be at least nine square feet and can be counted in the total required space. Multiple occupancy rooms must have at least 60 square feet per person. No more than four people may share a bedroom. Toilets must be available for every six residents, and tubs or showers for every 15 residents.

Tenant Policy

Homes may serve immobile residents who do not need nursing home care but do need personal care, if they meet building, fire safety and staffing requirements. Homes may discharge anyone who is a danger to self or others and residents for whom a physician or the local assessment agency determines needs a higher level of care.


Services include personal care services provided by trained, qualified staff and with ongoing oversight and general supervision by the administrator. Personal care tasks include hygiene (bathing, oral hygiene, hair grooming and shampooing, dressing and care of clothes and shaving), and tasks of daily living (securing transportation, shopping, making/keeping appointments, care of personal possessions, correspondence, personal laundry, social and leisure activities, securing health care, ambulation, use of prosthetic devices and eating. Home health services may be provided by a certified agency, including hospice care, as long as the physician indicates that the person is appropriate for a personal care home and the service is needed for a temporary period.


Assistance with self medication includes storing, reminders and offering the resident the medication at the prescribed times.


Facilities must provide a sufficient number of trained persons to provide the necessary level of care required by residents.


Administrators must complete 40 clock hours of Department approved training which includes the following: fire prevention and emergency planning; first aid, medication procedures, medical terminology, personal hygiene, CPR and the Heimlich maneuver; local, state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to the operation of a PCH; nutrition, food handling and sanitation; recreation; mental illness; gerontology; community resources and social services; staff supervision; development of orientation and training guidelines for the staff; and financial record keeping and budgeting.

After the 40 hour training is completed, administrators must complete a minimum of six clock hours of ongoing training through courses approved by the Department and relating to the care and management of elderly and disabled persons or the operation and maintenance of a PCH facility or both.

Staff must receive orientation to the general operation of the home and training in fire prevention, operation of safety equipment, emergency planning and evacuation procedures, within 30 days of employment or volunteer services. A sufficient number of staff shall be trained, certified and recertified in CPR, and first aid and trained in the Heimlich maneuver so that at least one staff person so trained, certified and recertified is present in the PCH at all times.

Staff receive training within six months in accordance with a written schedule in the following areas: medication procedures, medical terminology and personal hygiene; nutrition, food handling and sanitation; recreation; mental illness; gerontology; and staff supervision, if applicable.


Not specified.

View full report


"98state.pdf" (pdf, 1Mb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®