Designated Assisted Living (DAL) - FAQs
What is Designated Assisted Living (DAL)?
Designated Assisted Living is a supportive living setting that provides you with a home where you can enjoy privacy and independence with the comfort of knowing health and personal care supports are on site when you need them. DAL is an excellent option for individuals with a wide range of needs including adults with disabilities and seniors with complex and significant care needs.
Whether you need a little care or a lot of care, DAL can provide it. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for seniors. DAL offers individuals and couples a care option that allows them to live with as much independence as their abilities allow.
The term “designated” simply means it is operated in partnership with Alberta Health Services and a housing provider.
How do I know if Designated Assisted Living is the right care for me or my loved one (parent, grandparent)?
If your care needs require high levels of personal care and support and the professional care of onsite nursing, your needs will be met in designated assisted living.
Designated Assisted Living clients:
- have complex medical needs that are predictable and safely managed with onsite, professional nursing (Licensed Practical Nurse) and the direction of a Home Care Registered Nurse
- may require chronic disease management
- have complex physical needs that cannot be met at home or an alternate supportive living space
- may be living with varying levels of dementia
- may require the following types of assistance with daily activities:
- complete meal assistance including tube feeding
- mechanical lift transfers
- two-person transfers
- medication assistance or administration
- total assistance to get from here to there
- total assistance to manage a lack of bladder/bowel control
Designated Assisted Living is not a good fit for you if you have:
- unpredictable behaviour that places you or others at risk
- a need for unscheduled assessment by a 24-hour onsite Registered Nurse
Who will provide care for me?
Your Home Care Registered Nurse will continue to coordinate your plan of care, ensure you remain actively involved in your care, and help you to retain your independence. Registered Nurses are available on-call 24 hours a day.
On-site professional nursing care is provided by Licensed Practical Nurses. You will also be cared for by Health Care Aides who are on-site 24 hours a day. Access to other health-care professionals is available depending on your needs.
It is a family’s choice, but not a requirement, to remain as involved in their loved one’s care as they wish or can.
How much will it cost?
Alberta Health Services has made a commitment to ensure Alberta seniors receive the care services they require to support wellness, choice and independence as they age.
Your ability to pay will not be a barrier to accessing the care services you need.
All assessed health and personal care services included in your plan of care and managed through your Home Care Registered Nurse, will be covered by Alberta Health Services.
Accommodation fees for Designated Assisted Living, as well as any additional services requested by you outside of your plan of care are billable to you. Subsidies may be available. Please contact your local Seniors Benefit Office for more information or call 310-0000 and ask to be connected.
Can couples live together in Designated Assisted Living?
Accommodations are available for couples. Couples who wish to are encouraged to stay together in Designated Assisted Living.
How will my room/suite be furnished?
Each suite or apartment comes with a wheel-chair accessible, private four-piece bathroom, personally controlled thermostats and a kitchenette.
You are welcome to decorate and personalize your new home to reflect your personal tastes by bringing your own bedroom furnishings and special belongings.
Personal furnishings can also include items such as toasters, microwaves and coffee pots, so that if you prefer to have meals or snacks in your own room, you have the ability to do so.
If your care needs require special furniture such as an electric bed, it will be made available.
How often will I see my doctor?
It is up to you, your Home Care RN and your doctor to determine when and where visits will take place. Designated Assisted Living can accommodate on-site visits as well as seniors wishing to visit their doctor’s office.
Will I have access to rehabilitation therapy?
Supportive living provides a broad range of health and personal support services. If your plan of care identifies a need for additional services including rehabilitation therapy it will be provided to you.
What about meals?
Designated Assisted Living has a central dining room where home-cooked meals are served. Menus are set according to the Canada Food Guide and are approved by a Registered Dietitian.
It is just like eating dinner in your own home – from chicken and beef to casserole to homemade soup. Special diets will be accommodated and assistance will be provided to and from the dining room as needed.
You also have the option of preparing meals and snacks in your room.
Assessment by a professional dietitian is available through your Home Care program if required.
Are visitors allowed?
This is your home. You chose who comes through your front door.
Most facilities allow visiting relatives to stay in your room, or family rooms if available; friends and relatives are welcome to join you for meals by either purchasing a meal in the dining room or bringing their own food.
For larger celebrations or family get-togethers, you may have access to a private dining room.
Will I have to do my own cleaning?
Room cleaning is provided on average once per week or as needed. This includes general cleaning of the bathroom, kitchen and floors.
Additional housekeeping is available for an additional fee.
Can I bring my pet?
Small pets are welcome in some facilities but taking care of them is your responsibility. A request to bring a pet and the pet’s continued stay are reviewed on an individual basis.
Why are all these amenities available?
Every supportive living client will have a plan of care that allows them to live with as much independence and choice as their abilities allow. Experience has shown that some people actually become more independent because of their ability to have choice in this informal, home-like environment.
This setting also provides family members the opportunity to visit with their loved one, perhaps enjoy a cup of tea or a home-cooked meal, in a private setting.
What is Designated Assisted Living-Dementia?
Designated Assisted Living-Dementia residences are for individuals with moderate to severe dementia, who may have a high risk of wandering and unpredictable behaviours but who are not a safety risk to themselves or others.
Dementia Cottages are a place where you can be provided care as you move through the later stages of dementia or other forms of cognitive impairment:
- you may begin to lack awareness of personal space and the privacy of others,
- your behaviours may become unpredictable,
- you may begin wandering more with a greater risk of leaving the facility where you may not be safe, and
- your behaviours may put you and others at risk.
Dementia Cottages have private bedrooms and shared kitchen, living room, bathroom, laundry room and courtyard spaces.
Individuals with dementia experience less severe behavioural symptoms in these environments.
How do I get more information on Designated Assisted Living?
In order to access a senior’s living option, including Designated Assisted Living, you need to undergo an assessment by a Home Care Registered Nurse*.
You can access Alberta Health Services Home Care services if you:
- Live in Alberta
- Have an Alberta Health Care Number, or
- Have applied for and are eligible to receive Alberta Health care coverage
To get more information on seniors living options or to book an assessment, contact your local Home Care program, talk to your family doctor or call HEALTHLink Alberta Toll-Free 1-866-408-5465.
* In some parts of the province, other allied health-care professionals (i.e. physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers) also complete assessments.