January 11, 2007
FACILITIES SPECIALIZING IN ALZHEIMER'S AND DEMENTIA CARE
By: Helga Niesz, Principal Analyst
You asked (1) if there are any facilities in Connecticut designated exclusively for the care of Alzheimer's patients and whether they are funded by private or public funds or some combination and (2) if neighboring states have such facilities.
Connecticut has one nursing home (with an assisted living wing) dedicated to the care of Alzheimer's and dementia patients and five free-standing assisted living facilities that specialize in caring for people with these diagnoses. None of these facilities is specifically licensed to concentrate on these specialties. The Department of Public Health (DPH) licenses nursing homes but does not differentiate according to the type of disease. The state does not license assisted living facilities. DPH licenses the assisted living service agencies that provide services at such facilities but, again, does not differentiate by disease.
A number of assisted living facilities, while not exclusively for Alzheimer's and dementia patients, have a special care unit or wing for them within a larger facility. 2006 legislation recently required more disclosures and training for facilities with such special care units.
Nursing homes are funded by private funds, as well as Medicare and Medicaid money. Assisted living is generally funded only by private funds. Connecticut uses Medicaid and state money to pay for the services in certain public, low-income facilities and has a limited program for people in private assisted living who run out of their own resources to pay.
In neighboring states, we were able to identify one privately funded free-standing assisted living facility dedicated to Alzheimer's and other dementia patients in New York City (Castle Senior Living at 80th Street). Massachusetts and Rhode Island do not have nursing homes or assisted living facilities that are exclusively for such patients, to the best of our current knowledge. But a number of the facilities in these three states also have special care units for these patients within the larger facility, and the states require special licensing, disclosures, or extra training for facilities that hold themselves out as serving these patients.
More details on other states' rules concerning Alzheimer's and dementia special care units in assisted living and nursing homes can be found in OLR Report 2005-R-0839, enclosed.
The Alzheimer's Resource Center in Plantsville is the only nursing facility in the state that cares exclusively for people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. It is funded by a combination of Medicare, Medicaid, and private pay funding. It also has an assisted living wing for these patients, which is private pay.
Assisted Living Facilities
Five free-standing assisted living facilities are dedicated to caring for people with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias: Arden Courts of Avon, Hearthaven at Seabury in Bloomfield, Arden Courts of Farmington, Arden Courts of Hamden, and the Atrium at Rocky Hill. People in private assisted living facilities such as these must pay privately for their room and board and assisted living services.
The state has a small pilot program that uses Medicaid and state funds to pay for the assisted living services only (not room and board) for people in private facilities who have run out of their own resources. Currently, 75 people participate in this program, which is the maximum the law allows. Access to this program is available only if the facility agrees to participate and, of the facilities that specialize exclusively in these diagnoses, only the Atrium at Rocky Hill participates.
State Does Not License According to Type of Disease
The state does not specifically “designate” or license these facilities to care exclusively for Alzheimer's or dementia patients. The facilities represent themselves as qualified to do so. The Alzheimer's Resource Center has a general license as a nursing home. The state does not license assisted living facilities although they must meet the state's definition of a “Managed Residential Community” (MRC). An MRC must have a licensed assisted living services agency (ALSA) provide the services at its (the MRC's) location. The MRC can contract with a licensed ALSA or become licensed as one itself; ALSAs often serve more than one MRC.
Special Care Units
Some nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Connecticut have separate wings or locked units for people with Alzheimer's or other dementia or have special programs and additional staff training to address these specific diseases. Attached are lists of Connecticut assisted living and nursing facilities, provided by Maria Tomasetti, coordinator of caregiver services at the Alzheimer's Association, Connecticut Chapter, which identify facilities with special units for dementia.
2006 Connecticut Legislation Strengthens Training and Disclosure Requirements
2006 legislation requires assisted living facilities, as well as nursing homes and other types of facilities that have special Alzheimer's units, to make certain disclosures to consumers and provide extra training to their staff (PA 06-195). The relevant text of the OLR summary is enclosed and available at http://cgalites/2006/sum/2006SUM00195-R01SB-00317-SUM.htm. DPH's regular onsite inspections of nursing homes will now identify if a facility must meet the requirements of PA 06-195, according to Joan Leavitt, Section Chief for Facilities Licensing at DPH.