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Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) are senior residential care facilities that provide varying levels of care. Lower levels of care (level one) are for residents who need less assistance. And higher level 3 care assisted living care is for residents who need more hands-on assistance. 

To clarify further, the types of care in assisted living facilities typically fall into three categories:

  • Supervisory Care: Skilled professionals like Licenced Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Nurses (RNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) provide general supervision for a resident’s functioning needs, the ability to intervene in an emergency, and assistance with administering and prescribed medication.
  • Personal Care: Primary caregivers like CNAs assist with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as eating, bathing, and dressing residents who cannot perform the activities independently.
  • Directed Care: The facility organizes programs and services for seniors incapable of recognizing danger, expressing a need, making primary care decisions, or asking for assistance. 

As the residents living in assisted living facilities need varying levels of medical and personal attention, ALFs usually provide a range of services that cater to their residents’ emotional, physical, and psychological needs. These include:

Level 1 residents keeping fit to prevent needing level 3 care assisted living care.
Level 3 care assisted living care requires more hands-on assistance.
  • ADL (activities of daily living) assistance (feeding, bathing, toileting, transferring, dressing, continence)
  • Administration and distribution of medication
  • Daily meal preparation (three meals per day)
  • Organization of social and recreational activities
  • Exercise and wellness programs
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Transportation
  • Supervised care and in-house security
  • Staff assistance with scheduled requests and unexpected issues
  • Personal emergency alarm systems in resident living spaces

Assisted living facility residents do not have any critical medical conditions. Rather, the spaces are designed to prioritize comfort with a home-like environment. Residents are encouraged to bring personal home items to help them settle and feel more comfortable. 

Additionally, a well-organized facility will develop personalized resident care plans upon admission via its assisted living management software, enabling caregivers to meet the individual needs of each resident while allowing residents the freedom to live an independent lifestyle in a safe and controlled environment.

The 3 Different Levels of Assisted Living Care

As mentioned above, assisted living facilities are designed to support seniors in a safe environment by providing ADL assistance and encouraging them to live as independently as possible. So ALFs cater to residents with various needs and different levels of assisted living care, or, Level 1 to Level 3 care assisted living care, which can be explained as follows: 

Level 1 Assisted Living Care

Level 1 residents require a low level of care and need occasional help with their ADLs. These residents have good mobility and can manage their personal hygiene. However, they may need assistance with laundry, housekeeping, taking medication, and getting in and out of the bath. CNAs usually perform non-medical duties under the supervision of nurses. 

Level 2 Assisted Living Care

Level 2 residents need a moderate level of care with their ADLs, such as shaving, transferring (getting on and off the toilet), and getting dressed. Level 2 care usually includes one-on-one assistance from caregivers. This means the facility must ensure adequate staff is onsite to provide residents with an appropriate level of care. 

Level 3 Assisted Living Care

Level 3 care is referred to as “enhanced assisted living” because in level 3 care assisted living settings, residents require extensive, hands-on assistance for multiple ADLs. Level 3 residents will have several physical ailments that need daily assistance. Furthermore, it is also common for level 3 residents to have mild or moderate Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Therefore, these residents will need even more supervision and care from primary caregivers. 

Skilled Nursing Care

If a resident’s health continues to deteriorate and requires around-the-clock nursing supervision, the resident will likely move into a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) with more specialized, skilled services. By this stage, residents will need assistance with all ADLs, medication management, transferring, and incontinence. Due to the skilled care and treatment, these services can only be performed by licensed nurses. 

Contact us here if you want to see how our user-friendly long term care software allows you to easily navigate the various levels of care in assisted living facilities. 

The Role of Staff in Providing Different Assisted Living Levels of Care

It is worth noting that the size of a facility often determines the number of staff employed, with some facilities catering to assisted living and skilled nursing residents. In such cases, the staff resources in these facilities may integrate between the two. 

Caregivers in assisted living typically include an administrator, admissions coordinator, nurses, CNAs, and housekeepers. Each staff member is trained to meet the specific needs and requirements of the residents by providing different assisted living levels of care.  

For example, in level 3 care assisted living settings, residents require more assistance and specialized care, such as hands-on assistance with multiple ADLs, physical impairments, and mild to moderate memory loss. The primary caregivers who will assist residents are registered nurses, CNAs, and aides. CNAs and aides will primarily perform non-medical assistance under the supervision of nurses. 

Typical nurse duties in an assisted living facility include:

  • Supervising CNAs and aides, ensuring they follow resident care plans 
  • Conducting health examinations
  • Administering medication and monitoring residents’ well-being
  • Corresponding with family members
  • Organizing schedules of residents and staff
  • Creating wellness and exercise programs via the long term care software
  • Coordinating with external healthcare professionals

For more on the different levels of assisted living care, refer to this downloadable level of care chart, which differentiates between the levels of care residents need. 

Meanwhile, level 1 care is usually carried out by CNAs, who provide basic care and support to individuals under the supervision of an LPN or RN. The different levels of assisted living care that they assist with include:

A CNA helping a resident with different levels of assisted living care, such as teaching him how to use a smartphone to contact his family.
Different levels of assisted living care include helping with occasional ADLs for more hands-on help.
  • Giving residents bed baths
  • Changing soiled sheets
  • Helping residents with eating (feeding)
  • Assisting residents in going to the bathroom
  • Transporting residents in wheelchairs or gurneys (stretchers)
  • Turning residents to prevent bedsores
  • Cleaning rooms
  • Assisting residents to walk or exercise
  • Answering call lights 

While staff members may be focused on their particular roles in providing different levels of care for the elderly, it is essential to remember that a facility can only run smoothly and efficiently through collective teamwork and a shared desire to provide optimum care to the residents; each team member is crucial in providing the appropriate type and level of care, but ultimately working together allows the facility to provide the highest quality of care. 

Caring For Level 3 Care Assisted Living Residents 

A group of residents in a facility with different assisted living levels of care.
Assisted living levels of care can vary from special needs to simple help cleaning rooms.

When level 1 care is compared with level 3 care assisted living care, one can see how much the type of assistance needed for residents can vary. Level 1 residents do not need as much aid and may even become irritated if caregivers are overly attentive to their actions. Meanwhile, level 3 residents require a significant amount of assistance and supervision. If they do not receive the appropriate level of care, they may experience a decline in their health. 

Having the right attitude and desire to care for residents also helps improve care and build a strong team culture centered around resident care. Only then can the facility ensure that caregivers provide appropriate care for each and every resident.  

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Cindy Wong
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