The medical and mental health care needs of assisted living residents have increased over the last decades, raising concern about the suitability of services to address those needs. In 2022, one of the journals of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published Recommendations for Medical and Mental Health Care in Assisted Living Based on an Expert Delphi Consensus Panel.
This first-ever set of recommendations launched the national Be Well in AL (assisted living) coalition, led by CEAL@UNC in collaboration with numerous national organizations. The goal of Be Well in AL is to effect change in assisted living practice and policy based on the recommendations.
Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Final Rule
In 2014, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released final Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) regulations that set forth new requirements under which states may provide home and community-based long-term services and supports, including assisted living. At the request of CMS, CEAL provided two separate reports on the impact of certain provisions of the Final Rule to assisted living and residents, including residents with dementia. Two key requirements at that (1) residents must have access to community services, and (2) service planning must be developed through a person-centered planning process that reflects individual preferences and goals. States were given until 2023 to complete State Transition Plans (STPs) explaining how they will ensure all settings are compliant with the Final Rule, and how they will work with providers to identify and rectify related issues.
CEAL@UNC is developing a summary of each STP that received Final Approval from CMS. This information is helpful for providers to assure they meet regulatory requirements, and for regulators and researchers to compare STPs across states and consider areas for quality improvement.
Translating Research for Practice and Policy
Thousands of research papers are published in academic journals about practices, policies, and outcomes in assisted living, but few of them are available to assisted living organizations, providers, staff, policy makers, advocates, educators, and residents and their families.
The CEAL@UNC website compiles research published in academic journals, along with the abstract that summarizes the results of the studies. Beginning in calendar year 2023, a user-friendly “What This Means for You” section will be added to each resource. People interested in learning more about the research are encouraged to Contact Us.