What Is Assisted Living Nursing?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Patients in assisted living typically do not have complex medical needs.
Patients in assisted living typically do not have complex medical needs.

Assisted living nursing is a field within the nursing profession focusing on the provision of medical services to patients residing in assisted living facilities. These patients do not have complex medical needs, but may need some help with medications and other basic nursing tasks. In this field, the goal is to help patients retain as much independence as possible by offering support with activities of daily living. Patients with more complicated medical issues may need to transfer to a skilled nursing facility to get an appropriate level of care.

Assisted living nurses and other medical team members should demonstrate compassion for older adults.
Assisted living nurses and other medical team members should demonstrate compassion for older adults.

In assisted living nursing, one area of practice involves helping patients with tasks like bathing, dressing, personal grooming, and eating. Patients may need varying levels of assistance, and the nurse must assess the needs of each patient and determine the most appropriate care plan. Assisted living facilities provide patients with a variety of options and levels of care, tailored to their needs. The assisted living nurse may need to help at various times of the day with different tasks.

Patients who have more complex medical needs like feeding tubes or assistance with a ventilator usually need to receive care in a skilled nursing facility.
Patients who have more complex medical needs like feeding tubes or assistance with a ventilator usually need to receive care in a skilled nursing facility.

For medical care, the nurse may provide medications, remind patients to take their drugs, and assist patients with basic activities like gentle stretching. Patients who have more complex medical needs like feeding tubes or assistance with a ventilator usually need to receive care in a skilled nursing facility. Some organizations provide services at both levels under one roof so patients do not need to move as their care needs increase.

Nurses with qualifications in assisted living nursing can work at facilities of a variety of sizes. Some may take shifts, staying on site overnight to provide assistance as needed, while others commute to work during the day and work more regular hours. Patients who want to remain at home may also need a care provider with assisted living nursing qualifications to come in for a few hours every day to provide assistance, or to work as a full time aide, depending on the situation. Such nurses can advertise privately or seek work through placement agencies.

As with other areas within the nursing profession, assisted living nursing requires taking continuing education and periodically re-certifying to continue to practice. Many nurses choose to join professional nursing organizations to acquire additional skills they can use in their practices. Membership in such groups can also be valuable on job applications, as it shows a commitment to detail and an interest in providing very high quality nursing services to patients.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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    • Patients in assisted living typically do not have complex medical needs.
      Patients in assisted living typically do not have complex medical needs.
    • Assisted living nurses and other medical team members should demonstrate compassion for older adults.
      Assisted living nurses and other medical team members should demonstrate compassion for older adults.
    • Patients who have more complex medical needs like feeding tubes or assistance with a ventilator usually need to receive care in a skilled nursing facility.
      Patients who have more complex medical needs like feeding tubes or assistance with a ventilator usually need to receive care in a skilled nursing facility.