Adult Day Services Rules and Regulations By State

adult day care
Adult Day Care provides the social aspect of care needed for aging in place. Getty Images

One of the key factors in helping people to age in place is making sure the social aspects of care are provided in the community. Adult day care or adult day services (ADS) are key for people to remain at home and still have a quality of life.  With increased importance comes increased scrutiny. This article provides an overview of adult day care rules and regulations by state. They will continue to evolve.

Licensing, Certification, and Other Requirements

The majority of states require licensure or certification. The majority require licensure, fewer require certification; and even fewer require both licensure and certification.

“Certification” means to certify the individual adult day services program by measuring the ability of the adult day services program to meet standards set by the Department of Human Services.

States that require certification distinguish between different types of ADS programs.

States vary in their approach to licensure, primarily licensing providers of specific ADS programs or operators of specific types of facilities or centers.

For example, Maine licenses two types of programs--adult day health services and social ADS programs--as Adult Day Services.

With the growing of the aging population expect specific standards will continue to evolve.

Other Required Types of Provider Agreements

States that neither license nor certify generally require publicly funded ADS providers to enter into official agreements with a state agency, specifying that they will comply with mandated requirements.

Definitions of Adult Day Services

States vary considerably in the terms they use for ADS. Adult day health care is defined as a supervised daytime program providing skilled nursing and rehabilitative therapy services in addition to core services provided in adult day care.

Definitions of adult day services generally incorporate a statement about their purpose, the number of people who can be served, and limits on the number of hours a person may be served.

Our article on the MetLife Mature Market Institute report on adult day care comprehensively summarizes the scope of services for the industry.

Staffing Requirements

States vary with regard to the number of staff required. All states require specific types of staff for ADS programs. The major difference in requirements between adult day care and adult day health care is the latter must have licensed nurses available in some capacity.

To put the role of adult day care in perspective, learning more about aging in place and all inclusive programs like PACE is helpful.

Following are state by state regulations for adult day care.

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