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How California’s Assisted Living System Falls Short in Addressing Residents’ Health Care Needs

Across the country, assisted living facilities now provide services for residents with significant care needs, a noticeable change from 30 years ago when California adopted its quality standards. California developed its regulations on the premise that facilities do not provide, and residents do not need, health care services.

Decades later, this premise has perpetuated an odd work-around for administering medication: “assistance with self-administration.” The fiction of universal self-administration highlights an underlying disconnect within California’s assisted living regulatory system: the failure to adequately acknowledge resident’s health care needs.

This policy issue brief, a first in a series, explores the need to legitimate and regulate the practice of medication administration to protect residents, assisted living communities, and staff.

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