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Since 1981, when assisted-living homes first made their debut as a sort of midpoint between home and a nursing home, they’ve only grown in popularity. Meanwhile, as the number of facilities and residents served has ballooned, so has the diversity of needs. Some homes cater to those who have trouble cooking or doing their own laundry; others, to those with dementia, loss of mobility and even more serious issues. But government regulations that could help protect families with a loved one in an assisted-living facility who is suffering from a chronic or degenerative illness are still few and far between.
Existing rules vary immensely from state to state, and even within a given state. In Florida, for instance, there are four different types of licenses for varying levels of care. There is no national standard for training: While some states require upwards of 25 hours of training for staffers, others have no minimum, only requiring that certain topics be covered. Furthermore, cautions Eric Carlson, directing attorney with the National Senior Citizens Law Center, though most facilities are required to keep at least one person on site overnight, in some cases that person may not be required to be awake.
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