Do Most Assisted Living Communities Offer Doctor’s Visits?

If you consider moving from your home into an assisted living community, you certainly have various important questions. For example, you may wonder whether or not assisted living offers doctor’s visits for its residents. In this article, we explore whether or not an assisted living community offers doctor’s visits for its residents and other associated matters.

Regarding doctor’s visits and associated matters, we address several specific topics in this article, beginning with a discussion of the definition of an assisted living community. In addition, we address the following:

  • General presence (or lack thereof) of doctors in an assisted living community
  • Special clinical at an assisted living community
  • Assisted living communities and their own healthcare providers
  • Medical and healthcare limitations at assisted living
  • Hospice waivers and assisted living hospice care

Definition of an Assisted Living Community

An assisted living community is a senior living option for those older individuals who have minimal needs for assistance with daily living and care. The purpose of assisted living is to help adults live independently in a safe environment.

Aging in place (or living at home) is the option that most seniors prefer. However, that is not always the safest choice for a senior. If a senior cannot take care of some of their activities of daily living, assisted living may be a wise decision. Examples of daily living activities include dressing, bathing, cooking, shopping, paying bills, and managing medications.

What assisted living does not provide is a medical care facility like a nursing home. Nor does an assisted living community provide intensive assistance like what is found in a memory center for a person in the late stages of dementia.

General Presence of Doctors in an Assisted Living Community

There can be exceptions, but as a matter of routine, assisted living communities do not have regular doctor visits. In other words, an assisted living community does not arrange to have doctors call on their residents in some organized or recurring manner.

Individual residents can make arrangements for different types of healthcare providers to visit them in an assisted living community. With that said, it is important to note that such visits are not a function of the assisted living community.

Special Clinical at an Assisted Living Community

From time to time, an assisted living community might host special clinics or other programs in a facility. For example, foot care clinics are commonplace in some assisted living communities in the United States.

Assisted living communities might also engage the assistance of different types of healthcare providers to provide presentations and programs on different topics. These might include such matters as nutrition, exercise, and so forth.

Assisted Living Residents and Their Own Healthcare Providers

A resident of an assisted living community can have a healthcare provider make a professional to that individual’s living space. For example, a resident of assisted living might need assistance with some chronic medical condition that requires an in-person appointment every so often. Assisted living staff are adept at coordinating these appointments in a community.

Medical and Healthcare Limitations at Assisted Living

As alluded to previously, there are limitations regarding the types of medical or healthcare assistance that can be made available by an assisted living facility to its residents. One primary area of service provided by typical assisted living communities in the United States is medication management.

Many people over the age of 65 find themselves taking an array of different types of medications daily. The fact is that even people with great memories can make mistakes regarding medication timing, dosage, and so forth – particularly when they are dealing with multiple medications to be taken at different times of the day.

How an assisted living facility lawfully can provide medication management has specific limitations. Chief among them is that assisted living staff cannot administer medication to a resident. A resident needs to self-administer medication. Alternatively, a suitably licensed clinician outside an assisted living facility can visit a community and administer medication to a resident.

Hospice Waivers and Assisted Living Hospice Care

Many assisted living communities do obtain what is known in some states as hospice waivers. California permits an assisted living community the ability to obtain a hospice waiver.

Under a hospice waiver, an assisted living community can have a designated number of living units (apartments or rooms) occupied by a resident receiving hospice care at any particular time. An assisted living community itself does not provide hospice care to residents. Rather, a third-party hospice care provider provides hospice care to the resident.

Hospice care in an assisted living setting is quite like that of a person receiving this type of assistance in his or her private residence. A specialized hospice care team is created to ensure that the specific needs of a person in hospice receive the palliative and other resources needed to ensure the best quality of life possible.

If you or a loved one are considering a move to an assisted living community, you must have a clear understanding of the extent of services that are available through this type of long-term care facility. As discussed in this article, specific limitations are associated with the availability of medical care.

Before accepting a prospective resident into assisted living, an evaluation or assessment is undertaken of that individual. Through this assessment, a determination is made as to whether or not a particular prospective resident does not require medical services beyond the capacity of what is available in assisted living. These assessments are undertaken from time to time into the future after an individual becomes a resident of an assisted living community.