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Geriatr Nurs. 2003 Jul-Aug;24(4):218-21, 235.

Is there a nurse in the house? The role of nurses in assisted living: past, present, and future.

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  • 1Fairfield University School of Nursing, Conn., USA.


The large increase in the number of older adults in the United States has mandated more supportive housing options. Assisted living facilities (ALFs) were developed as a necessary, desirable, and available residential option for older adults. The lower cost of ALFs compared with skilled nursing facilities and the emphasis on greater autonomy within these facilities are appealing to older consumers and their families. However, although many ALF residents have chronic health care needs, the roles and availability of nurses in these facilities vary greatly. This article discusses the history and creation of ALFs, the current role of nurses within these facilities, and the many factors influencing nursing in the assisted living industry. The role of nurse practitioners in these facilities is discussed. Finally, a vision for the future of nursing in ALFs is presented.

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