What is a "Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE)?

A Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE) is a non-medical housing facility that caters to elder residents who need assistance with activities of daily living such as eating, grooming, hygiene, taking medications, assistance with walking, going to the toilet, and other daily tasks. Such arrangements are usually entered into by the resident, the resident's guardian, conservator, or other responsible person, but before admission, this placement must be qualified by a physician as an appropriate placement. This type of housing arrangement is only appropriate when the resident has minimal health-care issues.

Typically, 75% of the residents who live in an RCFE are over 60, and varying levels of care and supervision to each resident, as agreed to at the time of admission or as determined necessary at subsequent times of reappraisal. Residents under 60 are permitted, but are usually people who cannot care for themselves due to developmental or physical disabilities.

The main difference between nursing homes and RCFEs is that, while residents may be unable to live by themselves, they do not require skilled nursing care. RCFEs are considered to be non-medical facilities, and, more importantly, are not required to have nurses, certified nursing assistants or doctors on staff. Other terms often used to refer to this level of care are: assisted living facilities, board and care homes, rest homes, and the category of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) that provides attentive personal care and supervision. Those who require actual skilled nursing care generally are not permitted for residency at an RCFE.

RCFEs are licensed and supervised by the California Department of Social Service, Community Care Licensing Division. RCFEs are listed on the California Department of Social Services' CCL website, www.dss.ca.gov, which is updated weekly.


The Phillips Law Offices can help if a loved one or family member has been a victim of elder abuse or neglect. If you or a family member has been seriously hurt or injured as a result of elder abuse or elder neglect in a residential care facility, you may be entitled to seek compensation by filing a lawsuit under the California Elder Abuse Act. Contact Us today for a free consultation to see if you have a case worth pursuing.