What is Congregate Living Health Facility (CLHF)?

What is a Congregate Living Health Facility?

Sierra Care | November 29, 2022


Individualized Care in a Group Environment

Congregate living health facilities are homes for individuals who have healthcare needs that prevent them from living alone, in traditional assisted living facilities, or in larger skilled nursing facilities. Congregate living health facilities were created to bridge the individual care patients receive in hospitals and the more limited care that can be provided in a skilled nursing facility with dozens of residents or more. These facilities are a form of subacute care facilities. These facilities care for patients who have been recently discharged from a hospital, usually after the treatment of a severe injury or medical condition. Due to the smaller sizes of congregate living health facilities, they are all unique, but many of them provide similar services and operate under a specific legal definition.

What services do congregate living health facilities provide?

Congregate living health facilities provide many of the same services that are available in larger rehabilitation hospitals. The most common of these services are:

  • Skilled nursing care
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Dietician and meal planning
  • Recreational activities
  • Assisted Transportation

What these services look like, how frequently they are provided, and whether they are in-house or off-site will vary based on the size of the congregate living facility, what type of patients it specializes in, and the part of the country where the facility is located.

What is the legal definition of a congregate living health facility?

The legal definition of a congregate living health facility changes based on the state, in the state of California, a congregate living health facility will have six to fifteen beds, offer 24-hour-a-day medical services, and offer care to at least one specialized group of patients.

  1. Patients who are severely physically disabled.
  2. Patients with a life expectancy of 6 months or less.
  3. Patients with a progressive condition and a life expectancy of 5 years or less
  4. Patients with a catastrophic injury due to trauma who can benefit from rehabilitation.

How do you pay for a congregate living health facility?

The cost of constant medical care can be expensive, and those with catastrophic injuries, disabilities, and complex medical conditions often do not have the financial resources to pay for these facilities out-of-pocket. The state and federal governments provide funding for congregate living health facilities and offer assistance with funding through private insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid, and the facilities themselves. Each facility will be able to provide additional details on the costs of care at that specific facility.

What Kind of Patients are Congregate Living Health Facilities for?

Congregate living health facilities care for patients who require more care than a skilled nursing facility, in-home care, and an assisted living facility can provide. These patients may need medical attention multiple times a day, require devices such as ventilators or medication pumps, or cannot care for themselves at home without assistance.

What medical conditions are treated at a congregate living health facility?

Congregate living health facilities can care for residents with nearly any medical condition. The types of injuries and medical conditions most appropriate for a congregate living health facility are those that lead to serious disability or require constant ongoing medical care.

  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Severe lung disease
  • Heart failure
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Loss of multiple limbs

These are only the most common conditions that lead people to require care in a congregate living health facility. Any medical condition or combination of conditions can qualify a patient for congregate living. It is the severity of the disability that results from the condition and/or the amount of daily care required that is important.

Why would you choose a congregate living health facility over a skilled nursing facility?

A congregate living health facility is recommended over a skilled nursing facility when a skilled nursing facility cannot provide the level of care that is required for a patient. Congregate living health facilities are a form of subacute care. Subacute care is the level of care just below hospitalization. If a patient is able to leave the hospital because their medical condition is stable, but they have injuries or medical problems that require daily care by a skilled medical professional, they are generally appropriate for subacute care.

For more information on subacute care and the other levels of care that are common in the medical setting, see our article on the definition of subacute care.

Sierra Care and Congregate Living

Sierra Care offers subacute care to patients throughout central California. Congregate living is available through Sierra Care, with access to the same therapists, nurses, and medical specialists that care for our patients who are in active rehabilitation. Sierra Care provides beautiful facilities and caring staff to ensure that our residents can focus on their recovery. If you feel that you or a loved one could benefit from our services, contact us or refer a patient to us for additional information!