Is an Assisted Living Facility the Same as a Nursing Home?

One of the focuses of elder law is making it easier for seniors to take care of themselves and live comfortably in their golden years. Many elders each year will consult with an elder law attorney about how to accomplish that goal, which often leads to discussions about assisted living facilities and nursing homes. At Burnett Wilson Law, we have helped countless elders and their families sort through elder law concerns throughout our decades of combined practice experience. You might be surprised to find just how many people thought assisted living facilities and nursing homes are the same thing. We are here to tell you that they are not and that the differences are important.

Assisted Living Facility Vs. Nursing Home

An assisted living facility is a housing option for people who need help with day-to-day care, but not medical treatments. A nursing home provides similar care, but with the added qualifier that certain medical treatments can be conducted by certified staff members, i.e., nurses. In states like Nebraska, there are actually legal definitions and regulations that further clarify the differences between an assisted living facility and a nursing home.

For elders who are relatively able-bodied but who are not comfortable living alone, an assisted living facility might be their first choice. At such a center, they can enjoy numerous benefits like a variety of meals, social interaction, and sometimes a private, customizable room. Again, the key to understand is that an assisted living facility might have no registered nurses or certified medical technicians on staff to complete routine or emergency medical treatments. An elder who needs medical treatments each day or who has a chronic condition should look into living at a nursing home.

Medical treatments that can be conducted in a nursing home include:

  • Dialysis

  • Injectable medications

  • Vital sign monitoring

  • Blood draws and testing

  • Emergency medical care

  • And more

Living in a nursing home can often have the same perks as an assisted living facility, like private rooms and a social community, too. Benefits and options can vary dramatically from one center to the next. An elder law attorney can help you find one that best fits your expectations, lifestyle, and medical needs if any.

Elder Law & Housing Options

Your choice to live in a nursing home or an assisted living facility could also be affected by elder laws that apply to your situation. For example, your assets and income can impact your eligibility for Medicaid and Medicare benefits. If you don’t qualify for these benefits, then you might be unable to afford living at a center you were considering. Sometimes people have to choose an assisted living facility without daily medical assistance because they do not qualify for financial assistance to live in a nursing home.

Working with an elder law attorney like our team at Burnett Wilson Law can also help you navigate legal circumstances to afford the best long-term care and housing possible. If you live in Nebraska, then we would like to hear from you. Please call (402) 810-8611 or fill out an online contact form today to request a consultation.
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