About Assisted Living in Iowa

While Iowa may be mostly farmland there are thousands of lakes and ponds that are said to be the best fishing in the Midwest. If outdoor recreation doesn’t entice you, you might like to know that Iowa’s cost of living is significantly lower than the national average, and there are exemption options for those who receive a pension, annuity, IRA, or other retirement plan.

What Options are Available for Assisted Living?

Assisted Living Programs are home-like structures for 3 or more tenants, including health-related care, personal care, and assistance with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). With 24 hour staff, assisted living includes encouragement of family involvement, dignity, privacy, individuality, and independence, while also providing supervision, safety, and security.

Assisted Living Programs must provide a copy of the written occupancy agreement that clearly describes the tenant’s rights and responsibilities while also including a description of all fees, charges, and rates for services covered, and additional service options and their costs. The agreement should outline all of the tenant’s rights regarding health, safety, and occupancy, as well as Dementia-specific Assisted Living Programs.

Smoke detectors and alarms are required to comply with National Fire Protection Association rules and regulations. Alarms must be installed inside every sleeping room and outside sleeping areas, as well as on all levels of the resident unit. All new facilities must have sprinklers.

What are the Alzheimer’s Requirements for Assisted Living Programs in Iowa?

Special programs are designed to cater to Alzheimer’s and dementia tenants, including service plans and planned and spontaneous activities based on individual abilities and personal interest. These programs also include the use of alarm systems and appropriate response staff to ensure the safety of tenants with cognitive impairments or dementia.

Senior Assisted Living Details and Costs for Cities in Iowa

The listings below are some of the larger cities in Iowa. Each city listing page provides details on senior care facilities, independent living, senior group homes, and memory care. Details may include costs, amenities, services provided, as well as other useful information.

What Training is Required for Assisted Living Program Staff?

All Assisted Living Program staff must be able to implement accident, fire safety, and emergency procedures, and assigned tasks.

All staff working in the Alzheimer’s and dementia program must receive a minimum of 8 hours of dementia-specific education and training within their first 30 days of employment and 2 hours of continuing education each year. Direct-contact personnel must complete 8 hours of continuing education each year.

Is an Assessment Required Before Move-In?

An evaluation is required to assess the functional, cognitive, and health status of the applicant to develop an individualized service plan. The evaluation must be submitted with the individual’s application and will need to be updated periodically, especially if there’s a significant change in his or her condition.

What Care is Available in an Assisted Living Program?

  • Assistance with up to 4 activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental-ADLs.
  • Health-related care by an RN or LPN can be provided on a part-time basis (not to exceed 28 hours per week).

Residents may contract 3rd party assistance for personal care or other health-related services.

How is Medication Managed?

Residents have the option to self-administer medication or have the program administer for them. The Iowa Nurse Practice Act allows nurses to delegate medication administration to unlicensed staff, but a registered nurse must monitor tenants for adverse reactions and ensure that medication orders are current and being consistently administered.

What are the Bathroom Requirements for an Assisted Living Program?

Each tenant unit must have a bathroom.

What are the Move-In or Move-Out Requirements?

Assisted living programs can only admit residents whose needs can be met by the facility, and they may not admit or retain residents who:

  • Require more than part-time health-care.
  • Are bed-bound.
  • Are under the age of 18.
  • Require two-person assistance to stand, transfer, or evacuate.
  • Have unmanageable incontinence.
  • Are in an acute state of alcoholism, drug addiction, or mental illness.
  • Are medically unstable.
  • Require maximum assistance with ADLs.

A waiver can be granted by the state for an individual for a limited-time basis if the program cab provide staff and services to see to his or her needs and doesn’t jeopardize the health, safety, security, or welfare of the individual, staff, or other residents.

Is an Assisted Living Program Covered by Medicaid in the State of Iowa?

Yes. A Medicaid home and community-based services waiver covers consumer-directed attendant care services in assisted living programs, the maximum reimbursement for elderly waiver services is $1,300 per month. The State Supplementary Assistance In-Home Health program can provide additional funding once the maximum is met, if needed.

Who can I contact for more information?

Department of Inspections and Appeals, Adult Services Bureau
Ann Martin
(515) 281-6325