Advocates oppose the bill, saying that residents are safer with two direct-care staff available at all times, especially in memory care centers. Plus, advocates say staff members can keep an eye on other staff members, helping to reduce abuse or neglect.
“The Alzheimer’s Association will always land on the side of quality care standards,” said MaryLea Boatwright Quinn, director of government affairs for the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Requiring two staff minimum per unit is a safety measure to ensure the ability to respond to the unique and ever-changing needs of memory care residents both day and night.”
The 2020 reforms came in response to an investigative series by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that exposed hundreds of cases of neglect and abuse at assisted living facilities and large personal care homes whose marketing materials promised attentive care in comfortable, well-appointed buildings. The AJC’s series also uncovered a weak and permissive oversight system in Georgia that failed to protect residents and didn’t provide families with easy access to information about inspections.
Assisted living facilities and large personal care homes offer a residential model for private-pay residents and are regulated at the state level. They are different from nursing homes, which are regulated primarily by the federal government and cater to sicker residents whose bills are often covered by Medicare or Medicaid.