FAQ

Here are some commonly asked questions about Personal Care Homes:
  • What is a personal care home?
  • What is the difference between a personal care home, an assisted living facility, and a skilled nursing facility?
  • How do I know which home is the right choice for me?
  • How much does it cost? Why don't you pay for my medications or insurance?
  • Can I still live independently or do I have to live by your rules?
  • Can I bring my personal possessions? What about my pets?

 

Q: What is a personal care home?
A: A personal care home is a residence that provides 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. PCHs are inspected and licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. They are usually privately or corporate-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.

Q: What is the difference between a personal care home, an assisted living facility, and a skilled nursing facility?
A: A personal care home provides care to residents on an as needed basis and focuses on community integration and maintaining a comfortable level of independence. Care is limited to activities of daily living such as bathing, toileting, grooming, medication administraion and other hygienic needs. Personal care homes do not provide any skilled nursing care. 
 
PA is currently completing work on developing regulations for a new category of care, Assisted Living. In the past, assisted living and personal care were considered one and the same, but the new regulations will allow for the assisted living facilities to provide higher levels of care while keeping people in a non-skilled setting. This change will not effect the type of care provided by personal care homes in any way. 
 
Skilled nursing facilities are for individuals who require ongoing medical care and a higher level of assistance with daily living tasks. This may include such things as catheter, colostomy and ostomy care, wound care, and special medical treatments.
 
For residents who are fairly independent and require a low level of nursing care, Serenity Pines does subcontract with home health and hospice agencies who care for such residents in our home. This helps with continuity of care and allows the resident to remain in their home longer, possibly avoiding rehabilitation at a different facility or nursing home.

Q: How do I know which home is the right choice for me?
A: Choosing a residence is a very personal and important choice that should not be made lightly. Consider the following when choosing the right personal care home for you:
Location
Size
Proximity to family, friends, amenities
Cost
Services provided
Value of services offered vs. the cost of those services
Staff  qualifications and character
Comfort of the home-do you prefer city living, country living, or something in between?
How does the staff treat the residents? How do they treat you?
Does it sound too good to be true? Make sure you really understand what services will and will not be provided.
Is there a slick sales pitch or pressure to decide? A reputable home will not pressure you and will make sure the potential resident is truly a good fit for the services provided.

Q: How much does it cost? Why don't you pay for my medications or insurance? 
A: Costs vary depending on the level of care needed and the type of room selected. Private and semi-private rooms are available. All utilities are included except for private telephone, internet and cable services in the resident's rooms. Room rates also include costs for food, daily living services, activities, assessments, and the like. Additional fees apply for laundry services, haircuts and subcontracted services, which are paid directly to the vendor. Residents are also responsible for the costs of their medical care and prescription copayments, or any other items not provided for by the home.
 
Just as the resident would be responsible for their own insurance and medications while living at home, they are also responsible for the cost while in a facility. PCHs are not reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid, as a skilled nursing facility would be, therefore we do not cover the cost of these expenses. Fees are subject to change at any time. Please call 412-628-6866 for a quote based on your individual needs.

Q: Can I still live independently or do I have to live by your rules?
A: Although Serenity Care maintains certain house rules, these are guidelines to assure the health and safety of each resident and to prevent resident rights from being violated. You are free to come and go as you please within the guidelines of the residence and based on your abilities, enjoy any activities in the community as you wish, and visit friends and family as you choose. We support your wish to live independently and will intervene only when there is a health or safety issue to a resident or staff member. We also require our guests to follow the prescribed rules for health and safety reasons.

Q: Can I bring my personal possessions? What about my pets?
A: Yes, you may bring your personal possessions to create a more comfortable and familiar living environment. All rooms are fully furnished with comfortable appointments. Residents wishing to use their own furniture may do so. Residents may not store large amounts of furniture or clothing at the facility due to limited space.
 
We love pets! Although pets cannot live with you at the Serenity Care residences due to health and safety reasons, we encourage them to visit you on a regular basis. Regular contact with pets has been shown to reduce blood pressure and increase a person's well-being, and we encourage this. Owners must provide documentation of current vaccinations and licenses for visiting pets.