Assisted Living - Reviewing the Admission Agreement

An assisted living facility (ALF) is for residents who need assistance with some activities of daily living but can still function somewhat independently. If living at home is the most independent and residing in a nursing facility is the most dependent, then assisted living is somewhere in between these two levels.

An ALF provides a room, along with assistance with personal needs and services such as meals and housekeeping. It also provides residents help with certain activities of daily living. ALF's range from small, independently owned facilities to residences that are part of a chain or part of a continuing care retirement community (CCRC).

The regulation of ALF's in Virginia is through the Virginia Department of Social Services. There are almost no federal regulations for ALF's. There is little regulation for the contracts for admission, so residents must scrutinize ALF contracts in order to understand the terms.

Before signing an ALF Admission Agreement be sure you understand the following:

  1. How the facility bills for services- are there basic levels of care that include everything or are services billed a la carte? Usually, there is a combination of both. This makes calculating the monthly bill complicated.
  2. What the entrance fees and other costs are.
  3. What the types of living arrangements are. Are rooms private or semi-private?
  4. What social activities, transportation, resident rights are included.
  5. How the facility determines the level of assistance needed by the resident.
  6. Whether the facility will alter its schedule of services to fit the resident's needs and behaviors.
  7. How does the contract terminate. What are the reasons for discharge or eviction and the rights the resident has in any discharge action?

Virginia regulations do require ALF's to disclose such information to the prospective resident and or his or her legal representative, if any.

Edward Zetlin Law is experienced in Reviewing Assisted Living and Nursing Facility Admission Agreements, and other issues involving Elder Law and Special Needs Planning issues. Don't hesitate to call if you face such an issue or if you have additional questions. Edward Zetlin Law would be happy to discuss. Please contact us at 703-379-0442 or e-mail at

Community Presentations - Edward Zetlin will be speaking at the Autism Society of Northern Virginia on Saturday July 8th at 10:00 a.m. on Medicaid Waivers and at 3:00 p.m. on Social Security. On Wednesday July 12th at 1:00 p.m. Ed will present at Langston-Brown Community Center in Arlington on Wills & Trusts.

Contact us at (703)379-0442;

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