New Study Provides Recommendations for Medical and Mental Health Care in Assisted Living

September 29, 2022

September 29, 2022
Contact: Ellen Mullally

New Study Provides Recommendations for Medical and Mental Health Care in Assisted Living

Columbia, MD – Assisted living is the largest provider of residential long-term care in the US. As the field has grown, the medical and mental health care needs of assisted living residents has been increasing, along with concerns about the care they receive. Until now, there has been no guidance to inform that care. A paper published in JAMA Network Open presents 43 consensus recommendations for medical and mental health care in assisted living derived from a diverse Delphi panel of 19 national experts; the work was funded by the National Institute on Aging.

The recommendations relate to five different areas. The item most highly recommended in each area is: provide training in person-centered care, have a procedure regarding aggressive behaviors, have off-site medical and mental health care visits include post-visit notes, have residents present during assessment and care planning, and provide routine toenail care.

“The recommendations provide a guide for practice and policy,” said Sheryl Zimmerman, distinguished professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who led the effort. “They’re also largely feasible and pragmatic, because data show many are already in practice.”

“A great deal of residential long-term care is provided in assisted living, but these communities have enormous variability in terms of size and variety of services,” said Christopher Laxton, a panel member and executive director of AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. “That’s why it was so important to develop these recommendations for consistency in medical and mental health care.”

“The Center for Excellence in Assisted Living has long been dedicated to promoting excellent, person-centered care for those who reside in assisted living,” noted Lindsay Schwartz, panelist and CEAL chair. “These 43 consensus recommendations will be an asset to our efforts.”

“Assisted living is the largest residential provider of long-term dementia care, so we’re pleased that these recommendations reflect the specific needs of these individuals,” added Douglas Pace, the Alzheimer’s Association senior director of long-term & community-based care. “I was especially impressed at the extent of agreement among the diverse experts.”

Get a copy of the study here.


AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine is the only medical specialty society representing the community of over 50,000 medical directors, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other practitioners working in the various post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) settings. Dedicated to defining and improving quality, we advance our mission through timely professional development, evidence-based clinical guidance, and tireless advocacy on behalf of members, patients, families, and staff. Visit for more information.