Do Assisted Living Facilities Have a Doctor on Staff at All Times?

Assisted living facilities are residential communities designed to provide support and care to seniors who require assistance with activities of daily living. These facilities offer a range of services, including personal care, medication management and help with daily tasks. However, one common question that arises is whether assisted living facilities have a doctor on staff at all times. The short answer: no. 

If you are considering moving your loved one to assisted living, or if you already have a loved one here, it’s helpful to understand the role of doctors in these facilities. This blog post will cover their presence and responsibilities.

Doctors in Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities differ from nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities in that they typically do not have doctors on staff around the clock. Instead, the presence and involvement of doctors in assisted living settings typically follow these patterns:

  • Regularly scheduled visits. Assisted living facilities often have arrangements with local physicians or medical practices. These doctors visit the facility periodically, typically on a scheduled basis, to assess residents’ health, provide medical care and address any concerns or changes in health status.
  • Emergency situations. While doctors may not be on-site 24/7, assisted living facilities are equipped to handle medical emergencies. They have protocols in place to ensure that residents receive immediate medical attention when needed. This may involve calling 911 or transporting residents to a nearby hospital or medical facility.
  • Medication management. Assisted living facilities often have licensed nurses or medication aides who are responsible for administering medications as prescribed by a resident’s physician. These staff members ensure that residents receive their medications safely and on schedule.
  • Coordination of care. Doctors play a crucial role in coordinating the overall healthcare of residents in assisted living facilities. They communicate with facility staff, including nurses and caregivers, to provide guidance on residents’ medical needs and treatment plans.
  • Access to medical services. Residents in assisted living facilities have the right to access medical services beyond what the facility can provide. If a resident’s health needs require more specialized care, they can schedule appointments with their primary care physician or other specialists.
  • Hospice and palliative care. For residents who require end-of-life care, assisted living wfacilities often collaborate with hospice providers. These hospice teams include doctors and nurses who specialize in providing comfort and support during this challenging time.

It’s important to note that the specific arrangements and policies regarding medical care may vary among assisted living facilities. Some facilities may offer more extensive medical services or have closer relationships with healthcare providers, while others may provide more limited medical support. 

Receive High Quality Care at ‘Home’ with Visiting Physician Services 

While assisted living facilities may not have doctors on staff at all times, they do prioritize the health and well-being of their residents. However, it’s helpful to know that you can always access additional medical services for your loved one. 
To learn more about the services provided in assisted living facilities, contact VNA Health Group today.

09.21.2023

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