Assisted Living in the United States: An Open Dataset, Anton Stengel, UG '23 (3954508)
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for information and data about long-term care facilities in the United States. Unlike nursing homes, assisted living facilities (ALFs) are not federally regulated. An ALF is a place where someone can live, have access to social supports such as transportation, and receive assistance with the activities of daily living such as toileting and dressing. Despite the fact that more than a million Americans live in ALFs, there is no public national database of these facilities. We present the first public dataset of assisted living facilities in the United States, covering all 50 states and over 43,000 facilities. This dataset can help provide answers to existing and future public health questions. To validate the dataset, we replicate the results of a nationwide study of ALFs that uses closed data, where the prevalence of ALFs is assessed with respect to county-level socioeconomic variables. To further showcase the value of this dataset, we also propose a novel metric to assess access to community-based care. Using variables from the Census, we define an individual’s need for assisted living at a county level, and compute the average distance from a group of individuals with assisted living need to an ALF. This allows for a visualization of access to community-based care at the level of an entire country. We hope this dataset provides a resource for policymakers and machine learning researchers to improve public health policy, reduce health disparity, and improve access to community-based care in the United States.