Assisted Living Services

The Community Care and Assisted Living Act and the Assisted Living Regulation set out operators’ responsibilities to promote and protect residents’ health and safety in assisted living residences.

An operator must provide hospitality services and at least one assisted living service to meet the definition of an assisted living residence. There is no limit on the number of assisted living services a residence can offer, as long as the services:

  • Are provided by trained and qualified staff
  • Promote resident health, safety and independence
  • Align with a resident’s personal service plan and their current needs; and
  • Are provided in a way that considers a resident’s needs, capabilities and preferences

Assisted Living Services may include:

Providing assistance with the activities of daily living includes:

  • Eating, meals and snacks
  • Mobility
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
  • Bathing or personal hygiene

Operators need to take into consideration a resident’s needs, capabilities and preferences.

Providing assistance with managing medication can include:

  • Receiving a resident’s medication from a pharmacy
  • Storing medication safely on behalf of a resident
  • Distributing medication to residents from the place where it is kept; and
  • Administering medication to residents

Operators should encourage and support residents in managing and administering medication themselves, as long as it doesn’t jeopardize their health or safety.

Residents have the right to access a pharmacy of their choosing, take medication prescribed to them by a health professional and store medication in their own unit, as long as it is safe for them to do so.

Operators must:

  • Develop a policy that describes how assistance with medication is offered safely and what precautions are taken to prevent theft of medication
  • Ensure that procedures are in place for the safe storage and distribution of medication and for the return of expired or unused medications to a pharmacy
  • Keep medication in its original labelled container and
  • Maintain an inventory of the medication
  • Ensure that each distribution of medication is recorded and any errors are documented and reported if a reportable incident
  • Ensure medication is administered only by:
    • The resident; or
    • A health professional authorized under the Health Professions (i.e., a registered nurse)
  • Ensure medication is prescribed by a health professional (i.e., a doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner) and is administered as prescribed
  • Each administration of medication is recorded
  • Any error made in administering medication is recorded. If it is a reportable incident, the procedures for a reportable incident must be followed

* Managing medication can be complex and due diligence is needed to ensure the health and safety of residents.

Operators must provide a therapeutic diet for residents who require it, in consultation with a resident’s doctor, nurse practitioner or dietician. Operators must ensure an individual dietary plan is developed and staff receive instructions about how to modify meals, drinks or snacks. They must also support a resident in following their therapeutic diet.

A therapeutic diet is a modification of a regular diet to treat a medical condition. This diet, permanent or temporary, controls the resident’s intake of particular food or nutrients.

Some examples are diabetic (calorie and sugar controlled) diets, renal diets, low fat diets, high fibre diets, etc.

* Modifying someone’s diet because of allergies, intolerances, or preferences does not qualify as providing a therapeutic diet. These modifications are simply part of providing a healthy diet to residents and are included in the resident’s personal service plan.

Providing this assisted living service requires operators to:

  • Keep money and personal property safe and secure
  • Hold a maximum of $300 of money for a resident
  • Keep current records, receipts of money transactions
  • Keep a current inventory for all personal property held for a resident
  • Make records available to the resident

Providing behavior management support includes working with an appropriate health professional (i.e., a psychiatrist) to first assess the resident’s needs and capabilities and then developing a behaviour management plan. Operators must also support a resident in following their behaviour management plan.

Behaviour management support means supporting a resident to reduce and manage occurrences of behaviours that negatively affect the resident’s health, safety or quality of life. 

Providing psychosocial support requires operators need to:

  • Develop a policy about the kind of programming provided to residents, inclusive of personal programs for individual and group programs
  • Establish programming (psychosocial) supports to support and best meet the residents’ needs. These programs should promote residents’ basic living skills (including communication, interpersonal and planning skills), and the resident’s ability to integrate into and engage with the community
  • Post a calendar of the programs being offered
  • Hire staff with the qualifications, experience and training they need to lead programs and groups, provide coaching and lead learning activities

Programming (psychosocial) supports include providing programming and assisting a resident to participate in these programs designed to promote basic living skills, including communication, interpersonal and planning skills, wellness management and community integration and engagement.  

Some examples of programming supports in a supportive recovery assisted living residence include:

  • Individual programs that can help residents:
    • Manage stress, anger and conflicts, set boundaries, make decisions
    • Learn about triggers
    • Learn techniques to self-manage
  • Guidance and coaching to help residents practice their communication and skills in interacting with others
  • One-on-one meetings to talk about issues and to create an opportunity to practice new skills or behaviours and provide support
  • Group programs that can help residents:
    • Develop or improve their life skills, such as cooking, healthy eating and exercise
    • Practice what they are learning; and
    • Learn what’s available in the community to help
  • Weekly meeting with learning activities and support