We get asked all the time, “what is the difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility? The answer might surprise you.

Nursing homes are highly regulated by federal law and must have around the clock trained nursing care. An assisted living facility (often called an ALF) can be nothing more than a fancy hotel for the elderly. There are basically no federal or state oversight of ALFs. No surprise inspections and requirements for 24 hour trained nursing care.

My problem is that many of the people residing in ALFs should not be there because, over time, their health has deteriorated and they need more intensive nursing and medical care which they will not get at the ALF. And surprise…surprise, the ALF administrator is not eager to tell those residents and their families that they can no longer properly take care of the resident. Why? How about money! ALFs are very profitable business…some believe more profitable than nursing homes.

Southwest Virginia has over 50 ALF facilities. If you, or a member of your family, is considering moving into an ALF, you better investigate the facility first. If you, or a family member, are already living in an ALF, make sure your health issues don’t require a higher level of care. You might just be betting your life on the outcome.

Dan Frith
Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at