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Board-and-Care Facilities

By Barbara Resnick, PhD, CRNP, Professor, OSAH, Sonya Ziporkin Gershowitz Chair in Gerontology, University of Maryland School of Nursing

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Patient Education

Board-and-care facilities provide care for elderly people who cannot live independently but who do not need the constant supervision provided in nursing homes. Board-and-care facilities (also called rest homes) typically provide the following:

  • A room

  • Meals in a communal dining room

  • Housekeeping services (eg, laundry, cleaning)

  • Minimal assistance with personal care

  • Sometimes supervision of drug administration

The number of board-and-care facilities is increasing because they offer an economic, federally funded means of accommodating the increasing number of elderly people who would otherwise require nursing home care paid for with state Medicaid funds.

Minimally regulated and sometimes unlicensed, these facilities principally serve 2 groups, often cared for together—the elderly and the deinstitutionalized mentally ill. Although excellent homes exist, some facilities tend to warehouse the disabled in substandard buildings and to employ few skilled staff members.

Physicians should try to ensure that their patients in board-and-care facilities are safe and are receiving appropriate care. Physicians may need to visit the facility or send a nurse or social worker to evaluate it.