How to Start a Successful Board & Care Home

by Shanika Chapman; Updated September 26, 2017
Portrait of doctor and elderly man outdoors

Board and care homes, also known as residential care homes, provide room and board, general supervision, personal care assistance and managements of medications in a small, private setting, often designed to accommodate fewer than six residents. Unlike nursing homes, residents at residential care homes have a good deal of personal independence and are often free to come and go as they please. All board and care homes must be licensed. If you are interested in converting your home or starting a board and care home, you’ll need to ensure that your facilities and employees meet all state requirements.

Items you will need

  • Liability insurance
  • Zoning approval
  • Building plans
  • License
  • Assistant
  • Trained employees
Step 1

Visit local board and care homes to get an idea of the type of care you will need to provide, such as cooking and preparing healthy meals, taking care of laundry, dressing, grooming, using the bathroom, administering medications and scheduling doctor’s appointments, and ensure that this is the right career for you.

Step 2

Learn the requirements for your board and care home, such as resident eligibility, meal planning, admission agreements and transfer and discharge requirements, resident’s rights, medication management, Medicare and SSI benefits, physician services, emergency discharge and general care, by contacting your state's licensing department. At least 90 days before your anticipated opening, schedule an inspection with your licensing department.

Step 3

Develop a floor plan that includes the required amenities and safety measures and apply for a license with your state licensing department. Generally you will need to include building plans and proof of zoning approval for your proposed location, the application, three references that can attest to your character and verify your ability to run a residential care home.

Step 4

Develop an admission agreement for your assisted living home that details the services provided, visiting hours, any paid services available, the resident’s rights, discharge rights and refund policies. Establish documentation procedures for medications administered and a healthy meal plan, with room for special diets.

Step 5

Purchase general liability and medical malpractice insurance from a provider that specializes in home care. Your current insurance company may be able to connect you with a provider.

Step 6

Hire a qualified assistant to act in your stead. She must meet state requirements for acting as a manager for a home care business when you are not in the home. If required by your state, hire a licensed nurse to oversee medication procedures. Hire compassionate, friendly and capable employees who can provide care in a dignified manner. Require all employees to undergo First Aid and CPR training. Implement drug management training to help your employees understand the importance of managing medications.

Step 7

Ask satisfied residents to provide referrals or be available for interviews. Get listed with local referral agencies.

About the Author

Shanika Chapman has been writing business-related articles since 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Science in social science from the University of Maryland University College. Chapman also served for four years in the Air Force and has run a successful business since 2008.

Photo Credits

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