Author: Sarah Williams
Reviewed By: Brindusa Vanta

The characteristics of nursing care in assisted living range from no such care to intermittent skilled nursing. Depending on state regulations and facility licenses, some communities offer limited health services alongside personal care and recreational programs. However, they generally can’t accommodate seniors with high-level medical needs. Before moving in, individuals need to check if facilities can meet their specific health care needs.

Nursing Input and Oversight

Many assisted living communities have an on-staff or on-call nurse. Nurses often help evaluate new residents and create personalized care plans. They also perform ongoing assessments for periodic service plan updates. These plans include services related to everyday living activities, personal care, leisure preferences and health needs. Sometimes, community nurses perform regular wellness checks and preventative health screenings.

Nurses respond to health emergencies in assisted living facilities and may deliver or delegate medication management services, depending on rules and regulations. They also run health education sessions for seniors and aides, assist residents in managing long-term conditions and coordinate external medical appointments. Some communities also offer wound care and pain management, although additional fees usually apply on top of base costs. However, assisted living communities can’t provide around-the-clock nursing care.

Nursing in Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home Care

Nursing facilities care for seniors who require full-time, 24/7 medical monitoring or skilled nursing services. Staffed by registered and licensed practical nurses, personal care aides and therapists, nursing homes provide more intensive medical care in a clinical setting. Residents also benefit from holistic health support, such as rehabilitation therapies, nutritional management and medical social services.

Not all assisted living facilities offer nursing services, and many states don’t mandate a permanent nurse presence. In contrast, nursing homes center on medical care for seniors who don’t need hospital admission but require more support than assisted living.