What Is the Difference Between a Nursing Home and an Assisted Living Facility in Washington State?


Quick Answer

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services states that nursing homes provide supervised nursing care 24 hours a day to all residents, while assisted living facilities provide varying levels of service depending on the needs of individual residents. Nursing homes deliver complete care for medical needs in addition to full support for all daily activities. Assisted living facilities differ in the level of care that each one offers.

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Full Answer

Writing for the New York Times, Paula Span explains that licensed nursing homes offer smaller staff ratios than assisted living facilities. They provide residents with nursing support for medical needs, personal care support, any needed therapies and support for specific dietary needs. They also offer social and recreational activities as well as social services support when necessary. Nursing homes provide complete care for elderly patients who need this level of support. They also serve people with debilitating illnesses or injuries who are unable to care for themselves whether permanently or temporarily.

Licensed assisted living facilities allow elderly residents to maintain some degree of independence in their daily activities while living in a supportive community with services available when necessary. Assisted living facilities offer different levels of services, according to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. State-funded programs group services into four levels. At the lowest level, residents live in private apartments at the facility with minimal support. At the highest level, residents access specialized dementia care services, which include medication administration, some nursing care and the specialized support needed by early dementia patients.

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