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Differences in licensing between memory care and assisted living

My parents are in a senior facility in Illinois and one is in assisted living and the other is in the same facility but in memory care. I was told that they were licensed as an assisted living facility. It confused me because they also have a memory care unit. Please explain the differences in licensing. The memory unit my parent is in can't use the finger tip oximeter to monitor the oxygen level and I spoke to another memory care facility and they can use the finger tip oximeter. Another issue is one can cut finger nails and the other one can't.
I'm looking into moving them because I don't think they are getting the care they need. Maybe they need skilled care in a nursing home.
Hope you can clear this up for me. Want to ask the right questions when I look for another place.
Status: Open    Mar 23, 2016 - 07:25 AM

Elder Law, Senior Living Communities

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Expert Answers

Mar 25, 2016 - 03:34 PM

Your best bet is to contact the Illinois department of health services. Regulations for assisted living and memory care facilities vary from state to state.
Most states have a website where you can read the regulations for the various types of health facilities. Also, many will give a comparison of the different facilities and how well they meet the required regulations.

Generally, assisted care facilities employ aides (not necessarily certified) to provide care under indirect supervision of a nurse (frequently a LPN). Memory care units require an additional certification for an assisted living facility.

Skilled nursing facilities employ certified nursing assistants who work under direct supervision of LPNs and RNs. Aides are able to take blood pressures and oximeters, but a nurse is needed to interpret the findings. Normally, residents in an assisted living facility or memory care units do not need to have an oximeter reading, unless the individual requires oxygen therapy.

There are advantages of an assisted living facility that has a memory care unit so a couple can live in the same facility. However, If one or both of your parents are requiring more skilled care than the assisted living facility can provide, you may have to consider a skilled nursing facility.

I am hoping that this information will help you when making the decisions that will best meet the needs of your parents.
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