If the assisted living industry cannot establish uniform nationwide standards for itself, then Congress must do so, two researchers write in a paper published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Business and Social Research.

Linda Christiansen, JD, MBA, a professor of business at Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, and Joanie Sompayrac, JD, a professor of accounting at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, examined offered services, the handling of cases of abuse, licensing and other factors and found that “extensive inconsistencies in regulation exists across the states.”

Regulation is a tricky issue, the authors state. On one hand, they say, federal oversight could establish a baseline standard of care for residents. On the other hand, however, too much regulation has the potential to squelch expansion and creativity.

The industry will need to look beyond itself and the government and to prospective residents for additional focus, according to Christiansen and Sompayrac. “[I]ncreasingly demanding and better-informed consumers who have greater access to more information will push the industry to change,” they state, concluding that the industry must strike a balance between “offering a good product and doing so at a reasonable cost.”

 What are your thoughts about this research? Email lois.bowers@mcknights.com.