The expected growth in the aging population of the United States is spurring increased demand for nurses in assisted living facilities. The demand for assisted living facilities in the United States is expected to continue increasing over the next few years. According to the United States Census Bureau, 20% of the population will be in the age of 65 and over by 2030 — this means a more significant need for healthcare professionals, particularly for nurses, in the assisted living space.
What is an assisted living facility?
An assisted living facility is a residential option for many older adults and retirees living in the United States. Day-to-day activities become a struggle for many seniors, particularly those who are diagnosed with medical conditions — with an assisted living facility, people in their sunset years are able to receive all the help they can get, from medical care to assistance in daily tasks such as cooking meals, taking a bath, and even getting to the bathroom.
Assisted living facilities is different from retirement villages and communities — the former usually offer a more personalized services based on the needs of the seniors. Another difference is the residential structure. Most assisted living facilities consist of rooms and shared rooms, unlike in retirement villages where most residents have their own separated apartments.
Who works in assisted living facilities?
Nursing staff in assisted living facilities often include registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants. In a typical setting, physicians or registered nurses supervise licensed practical nurses, who are primarily responsible for monitoring patients, administering medical services, and updating health records. Certified nursing assistants, on the other hand, provide personalized care to residents, assisting them in daily living tasks.
Nurses in assisted living facilities
Provision of medical care is one of the services in assisted living, making nursing staff a staple in such facilities. Assisted living facilities often seek nurses with long-term care skills. These nurses contribute to the round-the-clock health and personal care services for seniors residing in the facilities.
What are the responsibilities of nurses in assisted living facilities?
The role of nurses is crucial in the daily operations of an assisted living facility. They are at the forefront of providing immediate and long-term medical care for senior residents.
Some of the specific responsibilities of nurses in assisted living facilities are the following:
- Conducting health examinations and assessing the physical status of residents
- Monitoring of changes in health of the residents
- Establishing a care plan for each resident and coordinating with other staff
- Administering medication and ensuring compliance
- Creating and overseeing healthcare programs for residents such as immunization
- Facilitating wellness and exercise programs
- Corresponding with residents’ family members
- Coordinating with physicians and other healthcare professionals regarding residents’ medical needs
The American Assisted Living Nurses Association (AALNA)
Moreover, the following are job highlights provided by the American Assisted Living Nurses Association (AALNA). More about the standards for registered assisted living nurses facilities can be found here.
The following are based on skill set, experience and knowledge. Registered nurses in assisted living facilities are responsible for:
- Assessing the resident’s physical status when she/he is admitted, as well as during severe changes in health and also annually;
- Establish a care plan using the information that was gathered on the resident during the assessment process;
- Share the care plan with the resident and members of the staff and oversee its implementation while noting anything that strays from the plan;
- Manage the resident’s medication, making sure to test a resident’s ability to manage their own medication administration and storage;
- Create and oversee programs (including immunization requirements and plans for combating infectious diseases like tuberculosis) that promote health and prevent diseases for residents;
- Create and oversee a philosophy of care that includes exercise plans at the assisted living facility;
- Create and oversee rules for resident capacity and end-of-life care preferences;
- Be accountable for care practices when it comes to himself/herself and the staff;
- Ensure care practices have each resident’s best interests in mind.
Assisted living facilities are unique care environments that work hard to avoid an institutional feel and look. They seek to aid seniors who are impaired either cognitively, medically or functional and require some assistance with day-to-day living activities.
How much do nurses in assisted living facilities earn?
The compensation of long-term care nurses working in assisted living facilities varies depending on the level of education, location, and experience. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a registered nurse with long-term care skills is around $64,370 or $29.96 per hour. These were based on March 2022 figures.
The level of education can significantly increase the potential salary of nurses working in assisted living facilities. Here are the potential annual salaries of nurses based on level of education according to Salary.com:
|Education degree||Average annual salary|
|Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Nurse Practitioner||$89,960|
|MSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) – Long-term care nursing director||$85,480|
|MSN or BSN – Long-term care administrator||$80,300|
|BSN or Associate Degree in Nursing – staff registered nurse||$60,170|
|Licensed Practical Nurse||$48,860|
Meanwhile, years of experience also affect the compensation of nurses in assisted living facilities. According to the latest data from Payscale, here are the average hourly rate of nurses based in the years of experience:
|Years of Experience||Average hourly rate for registered nurses|
|Less than one year (entry level)||$29.06|
|1 to 4 years (early career)||$30.57|
|5 to 9 years (mid career)||$30.40|
|10 to 19 years (late career)||$31.41|
|Over 20 years||$31.11|
Nurses in the long-term care field can potentially increase their pay by either pursuing certifications, boosting their education level, gaining experience in other roles, and switching practice settings.
Hiring experienced and highly-skilled nurses
Assisted living facilities are unique care environments that require staff like nurses to be highly-skilled and experienced.
De Vore Recruiting specializes in finding health care professionals to fill registered nurse and director-level positions in nursing homes and skilled assisted living nursing facilities around the country.
De Vore offers a wide scope of recruitment services that can help assisted living facilities hire nurses with the best skill sets to aid seniors who require assistance.
What are the key things to look for in an assisted living facility?
Families with elderly relatives needing assistance must consider several factors when looking at assisted living facilities.
- Location – The facility must be easily accessible and can be conveniently visited
- Services – The type of care these facilities offer must meet the needs of senior residents
- Staff – Adjusting could be a challenge for many elderly, it is a must that the staff in the facilities are generally friendly and accommodating
- Security – The assisted living facility must have security measures in place to ensure the safety of senior residents from accidents and external elements
- Culture – Families must be informed of the culture inside the assisted living facility, including the activities and programs available for senior residents.
How much do services in assisted living facilities cost?
Services in assisted living facilities in the United States vary across different states, but according to the 2022 study from Genworth Financial, the median cost of assisted living services was at around $4,500 per month or $54,000 per year.
|State||Cost of Assisted Living Services ($)|
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