Frequently Asked Questions

You Ask and We Answer

We take the time to listen to your concerns and to answer all of your questions. If you’d like a head start, we encourage you to review some of the most frequent questions we hear.


How are you different than a nursing home?

Unlike a nursing home, we promote and encourage independence, privacy, and individuality. We have a broad array of levels of care and create individualized care plans, allowing us to give you the right amount of support you need to keep living your day to the fullest. Nursing homes traditionally focus on providing skilled nursing care, rather than addressing individual preferences and lifestyle choices. They tend to be less private, frequently assigning multiple residents to a single living space and may have fewer options for activity and meal choices.

Learn more about Person-Centered Care and our Levels of Care here.

How do you determine what level of care a resident needs?

We have developed a proprietary and in-depth assessment tool which captures and details the degree of support you may need for a variety of daily tasks and activities. Specific points are assigned based on the degree of assistance or supervision required for each category. We monitor and record the degree to which you require and request support which then ties into the development of your personalized Care Plan.

Learn more about our Levels of Care here.

How many nurses/techs/staff do you have?

Columbia Cottage is proud to provide a significantly higher staff-to-resident ratio than is required at other Personal Care or Nursing homes. Our impressing staffing schedule allows our Caregivers to provide nearly three times the amount of scheduled and unscheduled assistance and supervision with our residents than is required by our state licensing authority.

Our staffing is directly related to the level of care and support needs of our residents; it is one of the things that makes Columbia Cottage truly unique. Please contact a specific Cottage location to request staffing information.

What kind of food do you serve?

We offer a wide variety of food and beverage options which are not only delicious, but are also reviewed and approved by a registered dietitian. We offer typical “comfort foods” as well as various seasonal dishes, all which are made on a daily basis.

You can learn more about the chefs preparing your meals by visiting a specific Cottage’s “What Makes Us Special” page. You can also download a sample menu here.

Can I keep my own doctor?

Absolutely. We feel it is important that you can continue to see a physician that you trust. We will be happy to coordinate or provide scheduled transportation to your doctor’s office when you have appointments. Read more about our Health and Medical Practices here.

Is there a 24-hour emergency response system accessible from each unit?

Yes, each apartment is equipped with an alert system which residents can utilize to notify our team when assistance is required or if emergency response is necessary.

Are the exits clearly marked and easily accessed?

Yes, all exits are clearly marked and easily accessible. We provide access cards to residents and family members to promote easy and controlled access at our main entrance.

Is the community’s safety a top priority?

Yes, we practice safety regularly and hold monthly safety meetings to promote awareness and review critical procedures with all team members. We maintain and post our emergency preparedness plan to ensure quick access for any type of emergency.

How close is the nearest hospital?

Each Cottage is strategically located within a short distance to a hospital or emergency medical facility.

  • Area medical facilities near Columbia Cottage Collegeville include Phoenixville Hospital and Philadelphia’s premier healthcare institutions.
  • Area medical facilities near Columbia Cottage Hanover include Hanover Hospital, and the larger system Hanover Healthcare Plus.
  • Area medical facilities near Columbia Cottage Hershey include Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, including a Level 1 Regional Trauma Center; WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital; and UPMC Pinnacle Community Osteopathic Hospital.
  • Area medical facilities near Columbia Cottage Wyomissing include Reading Hospital, Reading Health Rehabilitation Hospital, and St. Joseph’s Regional Health Network.

Are there private outdoor areas where residents can safely enjoy being outside?

Yes, each Cottage is built around central courtyards where residents can mingle and enjoy the outdoors. The courtyards are carefully manicured for our residents’ enjoyment and general safety. There are secure access points from within the Cottage and several of our residents’ apartment which lead into the courtyards.