Assisted living residences differ in the types of staff they employ and when they are available; because staff support may be needed at unexpected times, it is important to know who is available, and when, when selecting an assisted living residence.   

Some residences have registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) on-site all of the time, some of the time, or available by call, while others do not have them available at all.  Because people often need assistance at unexpected times, and because having on-site care may reduce the need to travel elsewhere for care -- including to a hospital -- it is important to know what staff are available.  However, it is also important to consider that assisted living residences that employ nurses may charge more.

Assisted living residences also differ as to whether staff are available and awake at all times.  Staff who are not available or attentive are less able to respond to emergencies or unscheduled needs for assistance.