Considering Assisted Living
Assisted living centers are intended to be an alternative for individuals who do not need 24-hour nursing care, but do need a combination of housing and assistance. Assisted living centers are generally less expensive than nursing facilities and are intended to provide a more home-like environment. Assisted living is NOT a nursing facility, and even though they might be co-located, the facility may only offer limited nursing care to individuals in the assisted living residences.
The basic philosophy of assisted living is to provide supportive services 24 hours a day to individuals who need assistance to carry out their activities of daily living. Assistance may not exceed cuing or limited hands-on physical assistance. While assisted living centers may not admit or retain residents who require ongoing nursing care, some facilities have been approved to assist individuals with supplemental oxygen, provide therapeutic diet meals or administer medications.
Assisted Living Centers providing additional assistance must follow these guidelines:
- Assisted living centers with residents requiring administration of medications must employ or contract with a licensed nurse to review resident care and condition at least weekly. Centers must also employ or contract with a registered nurse or registered pharmacist to provide medication administration training to their unlicensed assistive personnel who administer medications.
- Assisted living centers with residents with cognitive impairments preventing them from understanding, making themselves understood, or communicating their needs as determined by the physician of record must have the resident’s physician determine and document if services offered by the facility continue to enhance their functioning in daily living activities. The physician must also identify if other disabilities and illnesses impact on the resident’s cognitive and mental functioning.
- Assisted living centers with residents with physical impairments that prevent them from walking independently must provide a call system.
- Assisted living centers with residents who do not have the ability to exit from the facility during an emergency must equip the facility with complete automatic sprinkler protection.
- Assisted living centers with residents dependent on supplemental oxygen must train staff regarding oxygen safety and must practice safe oxygen handling procedures.
- Assisted living centers with residents requiring diets that cannot be developed using a simplified diet manual must employ or contract with a dietitian. The dietitian must approve written menus and diet extensions, assist residents’ special diet needs, plan individual diets, and provide guidance to dietary staff in areas of preparation, service and monitoring residents’ acceptance of these diets.