To document dementia‐relevant state assisted living regulations and their changes over time as they pertain to licensed care settings.
For all states, current directories of licensed assisted living communities and state regulations for each year, 2007‐2018, were obtained from state agency websites and Nexis Uni, respectively.
We identified multiple types of regulatory classifications for each state and documented the presence or absence of specific dementia care provisions in the regulations for each type by study year. Maps and summary statistics were used to compare results to previous research and document change longitudinally.
We used a policy analysis approach to connect communities listed in directories to applicable regulatory text. Then, we employed policy surveillance and question‐based coding to record the presence or absence of specific policies for each classification and study year.
Our team empirically documented provisions requiring dementia‐specific training for administrators and direct care staff, and cognitive impairment screening for each study year. We found that 23 states added one or more of these requirements for one or more license types, but the states that had these provisions for all types of licensed assisted living declined from four to two.
We identified significant, previously undocumented, within‐state policy variation for assisted living licensed settings between 2007 and 2018. Using the regulatory classification instead of the state as the unit of analysis revealed that many policy adoptions were limited to dementia‐designated settings. This suggests that people living with dementia in general assisted living are not afforded the same protections. We call our approach health services regulatory analysis and argue that it has the potential to identify gaps in existing policies, an important endeavor for health services research in assisted living and other care settings.
Data Collection/Extraction Methods