Are Assisted Living Facilities Health Care Facilities?

No, assisted living facilities aren’t health care facilities. They focus on supportive care and social programming. That said, many communities offer basic health care services and facilitate access to external providers through transportation and care coordination services.

Overview of Assisted Living Services

Assisted living communities provide help with day-to-day activities that support seniors to live as independently as possible. Examples include assistance with personal and oral hygiene tasks, transfers to and from the bed and help with toilet use. Many assisted living facilities offer several levels of care, with monthly fees dependent on the precise services delivered.   

Caregivers typically use tailored care plans to deliver the exact services an individual requires, and staff periodically update plans to match residents’ changing needs. Facilities provide three meals daily, and most also include domestic assistance, transportation and scheduled recreational activities.

Health Care Services in Assisted Living Communities  

Although assisted living communities have no obligation to offer health care provisions, many include basic services. Many facilities have on-call nurses who perform regular wellness checks, respond to emergencies and oversee medication management programs. Some have in-house pharmacies and others provide pharmacy pick-up services.

Depending on state regulations, facilities may offer medication administration services. Some offer on-site physical, occupational and speech therapy, which an in-house team or third party provides. Communities might coordinate visits from other health care professionals, such as physicians, dentists and podiatrists.

Alternative Care Settings

Individuals who need more intensive health care than assisted living provides should investigate other care settings. Those who require 24-hour supervision, skilled nursing care and therapeutic services are suitable candidates for nursing home care. Seniors who need limited medical support and can live safely at home with intermittent care services benefit from home health care.