What is the Difference Between Nursing Homes vs. Assisted-Living Facilities?

There are many differences between a nursing home and an assisted living facility. If you have a parent or loved one who is experiencing extreme difficulties while living at home, like dangerous falls or constant medication errors, it may be time to start looking for some type of care facility for your loved one.

It is helpful to know there are significant differences between nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The primary difference is the type and amount of healthcare and attention needed for each resident.

What is a Nursing Home?

Under the Nebraska Health Care Facility Licensure Act, a Nursing Home is defined as "a facility where medical care, nursing care, rehabilitation, or related services and associated treatment are provided for a period of more than twenty-four consecutive hours to persons residing at such facility who are ill, injured, or disabled." Neb Rev Stat § 71-424.http://www.sos.ne.gov/rules-and-regs/regsearch/Rules/Health_and_Human_Services_System/Title-175/Chapter-04.pdf

In other words, if your parent requires medical or nursing assistance throughout their daily life, and that constant or predictable need for medical assistance is expected to last more than a few days or a week, then a nursing home might be the best course of action. You should schedule an appointment with your parent's primary care physician and discuss their medical needs and how those needs will be best met and provided.

What is an Assisted-Living Facility?

Under the Nebraska Assisted-Living Facility Act, an Assisted-Living Facility is defined as "a facility where shelter, food, and care are provided for remuneration for a period of more than 24 consecutive hours to four or more persons residing at such facility who require or request such services do to age, illness or physical disability." Neb Rev Stat § 71-5901.

In addition, Nebraska law indicates a person who requires "interventions which require nursing judgment to safely alter standard procedures in accordance with the needs of the resident, or which require nursing judgment to determine how to proceed from one step to the next, or which require a multidimensional application of the nursing process..." are not to be allowed to reside in an assisted-living facility. 175 Nebraska Administrative​Code 4-002. http://www.sos.ne.gov/rules-and-regs/regsearch/Rules/Health_and_Human_Services_System/Title-175/Chapter-04.pdf

In other words, an assisted-living facility is best understood by what type of care they can't provide.

If your loved one needs constant medical interventions requiring a nurse to use his/her education and training to repeatedly access and re-access medical requirements, assisted living is not the best type of placement for your loved one.

The best way to determine the type of living arrangement your aging loved one requires is to make an appointment with your parent's primary care physician and discuss their medical needs and how those needs will be best met and provided.

Carlson & Burnett attorney, Rich Hitz frequently addresses audiences in Nebraska and Iowa on nursing home abuse and neglect issues. Mr. Hitz has led and organized educational seminars for other lawyers in an effort to increase professional awareness and understanding of these issues.

If you believe that a loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect or elder abuse in Nebraska or Western Iowa, you should take action quickly and contact us to set up a free consultation with Rich Hitz.


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