Understanding Assisted Living Care Levels: Supervisory, Personal, and Directed Care Services (State of AZ)

Sep 10, 2023

As our loved ones age or require additional support due to medical conditions, assisted living facilities can provide a safe and nurturing environment to cater to their needs. To ensure that residents receive appropriate care, these facilities offer varying levels of assistance based on their requirements. In this article I will focus on Arizona Statutes – but it is similar across most states In Arizona, assisted living care is defined by three distinct levels outlined in the Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) - Supervisory Care Services, Personal Care Services, and Directed Care Services. This article will discuss each level and how they are determined to help families make informed decisions for their loved ones. 

1. Supervisory Care Services (A.R.S. 36-401.42) 

Supervisory Care Services provide general oversight and monitoring of residents who do not require hands-on assistance. Caregivers ensure a daily awareness of each resident's functioning and ongoing needs. In this level, residents can safely store and self-administer prescribed medications. 

To be eligible for Supervisory Care Services, individuals must be able to maintain their independence while benefiting from the support and structure offered by the facility. They should be capable of recognizing danger, summoning assistance, expressing their needs, and making basic decisions about their care. 

2. Personal Care Services (A.R.S. 36-401.35) 

Personal Care Services involve assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, and mobility. Certified caregivers provide hands-on support to residents who require help with these tasks. Additionally, they coordinate intermittent nursing services and medication administration. 

This level of care is suitable for individuals who can still make decisions about their care but require more hands-on assistance than those in Supervisory Care Services. To determine eligibility, an assessment is conducted to evaluate the person's ability to perform ADLs independently and their need for support in these areas. 

3. Directed Care Services (A.R.S. 36-401.14) 

Directed Care Services cater to individuals who are incapable of recognizing danger, summoning assistance, expressing their needs, or making basic decisions about their care. Residents in this level require constant supervision and a higher degree of support from caregivers. 

To qualify for Directed Care Services, individuals typically exhibit cognitive impairments, such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease, or other conditions that severely impact their ability to function independently. A comprehensive assessment is conducted to determine the individual's care needs, which may include assistance with ADLs, medication management, and specialized services tailored to their condition. 

 Understanding the different levels of assisted living care can help families make informed decisions about the most appropriate care options for their loved ones. It is essential to consult with healthcare professionals and thoroughly evaluate each individual's needs before selecting a facility. Assisted living communities in Arizona are regulated by the state and must adhere to the standards set forth in the Arizona Revised Statutes to ensure that residents receive the care and support they need to maintain their health, safety, and well-being. 


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