Assisted-living for older people in Israel: market control or government regulation?
In recent decades there has been a rapid expansion of assisted-living facilities for older people in many different countries. Much of this growth has occurred with only limited or no government regulation, but many problems have arisen, typically around the quality of care, which have led to demands that governments act to protect vulnerable residents. This paper examines whether formal legal regulation is the optimal policy to protect the needs and rights of frail residents, while respecting the legitimate interests of others, such as operators and owners. It presents the case for and against direct legal regulation (as in institutions), and suggests that no overall a priori assessment is possible. The analysis is based on the case of Israel, where proposed regulations for assisted-living have been introduced but not implemented. After a brief history of assisted-living in Israel – its recent dramatic growth and why this occurred – the paper concludes that formal direct regulation is not the best route to follow, but that the better course would be to develop totally new ‘combined’ regulatory legislation. This would define the rights of residents and encourage self-regulation alongside minimal and measured mechanisms of deterrence. Such an approach could promote the continued development of the assisted-living industry in Israel and elsewhere, while guaranteeing that the rights, needs and dignity of older residents are protected.(Accepted May 29 2003)
Key Words: assisted-living; retirement homes; housing; regulation; law; legal frameworks; Israel.
c1 Dr Israel Doron, Faculty of Health and Social Welfare, Haifa University, Israel 31905. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org