Don't assume 'nursing home' and 'assisted living facility' are interchangeable terms. Learn the differences and similarities between these facilities to determine which is best for your loved one.
What really is a nursing home?
Nursing homes differ from assisted living facilities in terms of the level of medical care and services they provide. Nursing homes provide 24-hour medical care to people with chronic medical conditions who do not require the acute care a hospital may provide.
What really is an assisted-living facility?
Assisted living facilities provide a combination of housing, support services and some level of heath care. Individuals in assisted living facilities are given more flexibility as to the type of assistance they desire. Nonetheless, in order for a facility to call itself an 'assisted living facility' it must: provide at least two daily meals for its residents, have a daily resident check-in system, provide weekly housekeeping services and assistance with daily living activities. Assisted living facilities also must offer certain health related services with administration of of medication.
Questions for the nursing home administrator
Little regulation of assisted living facilities means more work for you
Because assisted living facilities have less governmental regulation than nursing homes, it is essential to be an advocate for your loved one and and get satisfactory responses to all questions. It is also advised that you ask to review a copy of the residence agreement outlining services, prices, extra charges, admission and discharge criteria, staffing and residence rules.
Questions for the director of an assisted living facility
Never take anyone's word. Visit each facility.
Nothing can take the place of a visit to a facility. Making an unannounced visit to a nursing home or assisted living facility can be a helpful way to scope out its day-to-day function. Is there a substantial difference between 'planned' and 'unplanned' visits. Take a note of the following: