What Are The Licensing Requirements For Assisted Living Centers

assisted living centersChoosing a senior assisted living community can be intimidating. We want our loved ones to be safe as well as to enjoy their new space and really feel at home. What should you look for to find the right senior assisted living centers in Arizona?

There is a lot that goes into finding quality senior living. Talking to staff and going to look at the location is a good start, but also consider looking into the licenses the facility holds, as well as licensing requirements for assisted living in Arizona.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living communities provide care on a continuing basis for three service types: personal care, supervisory care, and directed care services. Assisted living community sizes include assisted living centers that provide care to 11 or more residents or assisted living homes up to 10 residents, and adult foster care that provides care for up to 4 residents in the home where the caregiver also resides.

Depending on the physical size of the residence and the number of staff members, the requirements for licensing will vary. However, here is a general overview of what assisted living communities must do to meet license requirements.

Services Provided

To be a licensed provider, each community must complete a written service plan for each new resident within 14 days of their acceptance date. Each service plan needs to be reviewed with the new resident or their representative, any individual requested by the representative or resident (such as an attorney or physician), and the facility manager.

These service plans must include the following information:

  • Detailed description of each resident’s medical and health conditions.
  • The level of service each resident will need based on their capabilities.
  • Detailed description of what help each resident needs with administering medications. This must then be reviewed by a nurse or medical practitioner.
  • A plan for any behavior care a resident needs. This must be reviewed by a medical professional.

These plans for each resident must also be reviewed after any significant changes, as well as one to three times a year, depending on the level of care the resident is receiving.

Assisted living communities offer personal care, directed care, ancillary services, supervisory care, and behavioral health services. All assisted living centers must have a scope of these services in writing, along with policies and procedures for safety precautions for residents who need higher levels of assistance.

Medication Provisions

Medication administration restricts the resident’s access to their medication if it’s determined they need aid in their service plan. There are different levels of restriction or access. Care providers may administer medication, assist with self-administration, or monitor self-administration. This is determined by a medical practitioner. Examples of what this looks like for residents include:

  • Caregivers remind residents when it’s time for their medication.
  • Observing the residents as they take their medication to verify they’re taking the correct medications at the correct time.
  • Opening medication containers for residents.

Each resident service plan needs to have a written plan for how the resident will be storing their medications and what level of help is needed when taking them. Assisted living centers have measures in place to make sure only residents take their prescribed medication and that it is stored safely. There are also safeguards in place so that only the resident, representative, family member, or personnel from a health agency will fill prescriptions as directed by a medical practitioner.

Dietary Provisions

Assisted living staff or caregivers must provide meals and snacks for residents that meet federal dietary guidelines. Every resident will have a dietary plan written in their service plan. Any special dietary needs or therapeutic diets will be documented in their service plan and adaptive eating equipment will be made available to those who need it to eat their meals.

Staffing Requirements

While there are no minimum ratios required between staff and residents, there must be sufficient staff present at all times to provide residents with the level of care of the assisted community’s licensure category. All staff must be capable of a wide variety of care to fulfill the resident’s service plan. Every licensed community is required to have a manager or caregiver awake and present at all times.

To meet licensing requirements, all staff are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for adults and in first aid and have specific training and education for their services to be provided to meet the service plans of the residents. Each staff member, as well as any volunteers, must get a valid fingerprint clearance card issued from the Department of Health Services. If a person has been denied a clearance card they, cannot be employed at a licensed community.

Resident Homes

Assisted living centers can provide residents with units or bedrooms that are single or double occupancy. Apartment-style rooms aren’t required, but residents’ quarters must have:

  • Keyed entry
  • Bathroom
  • Thermostat to be controlled by resident
  • Kitchen area with sink
  • Refrigerator
  • Cooking appliance
  • Food preparation area


The Arizona Long-Term Care System (ALTCS) program covers many services that operate under a Medicaid waiver. This program is part of Arizona’s Health Care Costs Containment System. Private insurance companies make a bid to provide services to assisted senior living homes and contracts with individual facilities to pay for services. Local agencies work with providers and insurers to establish rates for individuals, as there is not a uniform cost for assisted living communities.

Inspection and Monitoring

The Arizona licensing agency will perform a pre-licensure check and will conduct annual renewal inspections to ensure all requirements are being met. Assisted living centers that have met all licensure requirements may receive a two-year license renewal. There are many specific details that need to be met in each step of becoming licensed, and any questions on licensing can be directed to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Solterra Senior Living provides the highest quality care in our licensed community. Hospitality is our focus, and we’re happy to provide our residents with a large variety of amenities. Our roomy and beautiful living spaces paired with compassionate and personalized care make our community a wonderful home. If you have any questions or would like to set up a tour, please reach out to one of our locations.