Is Adult Day Care A Reasonable Alternative To Nursing Home Care?

Picture-1151For families and individuals who provide care for older adults, adult day care centers or adult day services can be an important tool in providing adequate care. Providing round-the-clock care for an elderly loved one can be a huge, but worthwhile time commitment.

Adult day care centers can provide a much needed break for caregivers, while offering elderly adults therapeutic services.

Adult day service is the direct care and supervision of adults 60 years of age and over in a community-based setting for the purpose of providing personal attention and promoting social, physical, and emotional well-being in a structured setting.

Adult day care can serve an alternative to nursing homes depending on the focus of the facility (social or health services). These facilities provide services to adults with physical or mental impairments for the purpose of restoring or maintaining their ability to care for themselves. They can serve as an alternative to nursing home care when 24-hour nursing care is not medically necessary or when nursing homes are against the wishes of the individual or the family.

The State of Illinois does not require licensing or certification for adult day care providers. The Department on Aging Community Care Program (CCP) does not include provision for adult day care other than those stated in the Administrative Code (building, fire, health, and safety codes and standards, environmental barrier codes, and food service sanitation and vehicle codes).

In addition, the Illinois Department of Public Health has the authority to conduct performance reviews of adult day care centers in Illinois. The Provider Performance Review includes reviewing a sample of client and employee files to evaluate compliance with administrative rules and ensure that the center adheres to policies and procedures set by the Department.

The following are services that the Department requires adult day care centers to provide:

  • Activities of daily living (ADL) assistance
  • Health education and counseling
  • Health monitoring / health-related services
  • Medication administration (administered by an appropriately licensed professional)
  • Nursing services
  • Social services
  • Transportation

Optional services include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Skilled nursing services

Illinois, like most states, does not stipulate a specific staffing requirements for adult day care; only require only that each adult day service provider have adequate personnel in number (at least two people) and skill to provide for program and financial administration, nursing and personnel care services, nutritional services, planned therapeutic/recreational activities, and transportation to and from the service site. There are suggested staffing ratios: two staff for every 1-12 clients, three staff for 13-20 clients, four staff for 21-28 clients, and one additional staff person for each 7 additional clients.

As the population of older adults increases, the use of adult day care services can help provide necessary services to improve their the lives of older adults without having to institutionalize them in nursing home facilities.

For more than 30 years we have championed the rights of the elderly in all settings: hospital, nursing home, assisted living and day care.  If you or a loved one was injured or abused in an adult day care setting, you may have legal rights that include a claim for monetary damages.  Let us put our experience to work for you. 

Free consultation.  A track record of results for people like you. (800) 926-7565

Thank you to Heather Keil, J.D. for her assistance with this important topic.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Regulatory Review of Adult Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Regulatory Review of Adult Services: Illinois
National Respite Network & Resource Center: Adult Day Care

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