Colonial Woods 


personal care services

Personal Care Homes

Personal Care Homes (PCHs) are residences that provide room & board (housing and meals), and assistance with personal care tasks or activities of daily living.  Most Personal Care Homes serve older people, or adults with physical, behavioral health, or cognitive disabilities who are unable to completely care for themselves, but do not need nursing home care. While available services vary and are based on the individual needs of each resident, services provided at a typical PCH include: help with personal hygiene (bathing), assistance walking, getting in and out of bed, arranging for and managing health care visits and administering medications, laundry services, housekeeping, arranging for transportation, shopping, and participating in social activities.

Personal Care Homes are inspected and licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. They are usually privately-owned, although some are operated by local governments or non-profit agencies. In Pennsylvania, homes may be licensed to care for as few as four people and as many as several hundred.

Choosing the Right Personal Care Home

Choosing a Personal Care Home for yourself or a loved one is an important task. The Department of Human Services (DHS) maintains The Personal Care Home Directory which can be searched by zip code, county and region of the state to help you locate a licensed home in your area. The directory also includes the size and licensing status of each licensed PCH in Pennsylvania. 
Checking to be sure that a PCH is licensed is the best way to ensure that the home receives regular inspections of its physical site and service delivery. Other major factors to consider include: Location: Proximity to family, friends, shopping, transportation, church, library and other community resources; Size: Both large & small homes offer advantages depending on the potential resident's lifestyle and preferences; Cost: Monthly fees and service charges can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

Once major considerations are decided upon, it is advisable to visit several Personal Care Homes, during various times of day, before deciding on a home. When visiting a PCH, it may be helpful to visit several times and view as many room options as possible; Ask about staff training, qualifications and ratios; ask how long staff members have worked at the home; watch & listen to how staff interact with residents; Read all written information provided and ask questions about home rules including rules about pets, smoking, visitation, meals, and activities throughout the month; talk to people who live in the home and to staff; ask for a sample menu or observe a meal; Carefully review the Resident Contract and list of optional services and Fees.

Regulation of Personal Care Homes

Personal Care Homes are inspected and licensed by the Department of Human Services under the requirements contained in 55 Pa.Code Chapter 2600. These regulations include requirements for fire safety; staff training and education; nutrition and meal preparation; resident health and medical care; personal care service delivery; physical site conditions; and other factors effecting the health, safety and well-being of residents.  The Department inspects each PCH annually and conducts investigations into complaints and unusual incidents. Questions regarding the licensing status and history of specific PCHs can be directed to the Department's appropriate regional or state office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.