CHICAGO, IL – Many people often mistake nursing homes with living assisted facilities; however, the two offer two different levels of care. Assisted living facilities often provide personal care in a home-like, social setting and is generally for people who need extra monitoring or help. On the other hand, nursing homes are for people who are seriously ill and require around the clock care and monitoring.
According to the law in Illinois, assisted living facilities are described as “a home, building, or residence, or any place where sleeping accommodations are provided for at least three unrelated adults, in which at least 80% are 55 years of age or older, where the following is provided: services based on a social media where the resident’s unit is their home, mandatory services such as meals and laundry, and a physical environment that is a homelike setting,” (77 ILCS 295.200).
Long-term care facilities, like a nursing home, have a much higher level of care than a senior living home and different requirements under the law. According to Illinois law, a long-term care facility is “a private home, institution, building, or residence, or any other place, whether operated for profit or not, or a county home for the infirm and chronically ill,” (210 ILCS 45/1-113).
Care and Services Provided in Senior Housing
Assisted living facilities are generally for people who need help with activities of daily living. Assisted living is a more independent level of living. Someone who suffers from memory loss and who isn’t safe living alone is someone who would live in assisted living.
By contrast, residents in nursing homes require around the clock care and monitoring. Residents in nursing homes offer suffer with more complex health care conditions that require additional assistance of a skilled nurse or a physical or speech therapist. Nursing homes legal purpose is to provide residents with intensive health care and nursing care to people who suffer from chronic conditions, like dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Regulatory Differences Between a Nursing Home and Assisted Living in Illinois
Nursing homes in Illinois are licensed, regulated, and inspected and/or certified by a number of public and private agencies, including the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). The IDPH is responsible for ensuring all nursing homes in the state comply with mandatory state regulations. IDPH also ensures facilities accept Medicare and Medicaid payment for services rendered to program beneficiaries meet all federal regulations.
Nursing homes are inspected at least once every six to 15 months, according to IDPH. Nursing home inspections, whether standard or in response to a complaint, are conducted without giving notice to the facility.
Assisted living facilities are often loosely regulated. Regulations are set by individual state laws, which is different in every state, and are not monitored by state or local governments. Assisted living facilities also do not receive Medicare or Medicaid funding. Illinois’ state regulation of assisted living facilities include is they must be licensed by the Division of Assisted Living.
Though there are some differences in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, there are many obvious differences. Before deciding where to place your loved one, make sure to research both facilities before determining which is a right fit.