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What is an Assisted Living Facility (ALF)?

Assisted living facilities (ALFs) are licensed facilities that provide housing, meals, personal care services, and supportive services to older persons and adults with disabilities who are unable to live independently. ALFs are intended to be an alternative to more restrictive, institutional settings for individuals who need housing and supportive services, but who do not need 24-hour nursing supervision. ALFs are regulated in a manner that encourages dignity, individuality, and choice for residents, while providing reasonable assurance for their safety and welfare.

To reside in an assisted living facility, a person must meet the standard ALF "residency criteria" which is defined by Florida regulations and by facility policy. ALFs provide supervision, assistance with personal care services (e.g., bathing, dressing, eating) and assistance with or administration of medications.

An ALF holding an extended congregate care (ECC) license may also provide additional nursing services and total assistance with personal care services. Residents living in ECC licensed facilities may have higher impairment levels than those living in a standard ALF.

In addition to the ECC license, there are two other "specialty" licenses: Limited Nursing Services (LNS) and Limited Mental Health (LMH). Residents living in an ALF with LNS or LMH licenses must meet the same residency criteria for a standard licensed ALF. However, in a facility with an LNS license, residents may receive a limited number of nursing services. ALFs that serve limited mental health residents that receive Optional State Supplementation (OSS) and Social Security Disability benefits must obtain a Limited Mental Health License.

Regardless of the facility's license status, residents living in ALFs cannot have conditions that require 24-hour nursing supervision. The only exception to this is for an existing resident who qualifies for and receives hospice services from a licensed hospice while continuing to reside in an ALF.

All ALFs are required to enter into a contract with each resident for the services provided. For anyone considering moving into an ALF, it is important to understand the types of services a facility provides; those services included in the basic rate, those services requiring additional payment, and those services which must be contracted for directly by the resident with a third party provider. For more information regarding facility selection, please go to Selecting A Facility.

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