Consumer Guide: Finding and Choosing an Adult Family Home
In Wisconsin, the Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) licenses and regulates assisted living facilities. Each type has a directory. In the adult family homes (AFHs) directory, you can find details about each AFH.
There's also a Glossary for Assisted Living Directories that helps define complex terms.
What is an adult family home?
An AFH is a type of assisted living facility. It's a place where adults (aged 18 and older), who aren't related to the caregiver, live. AFH residents also get care that's beyond room and board. This can include up to seven hours per week of nursing care per person.
What services do AFHs offer?
AFHs offer services that may help with:
- Advanced age.
- AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
- Alcohol and other drug use.
- Correctional clients.
- Developmental disabilities.
- Mental health problems.
- Pregnancy (if also in need of counseling).
- Physical disabilities.
- Terminal illness.
- Traumatic brain injury.
How are AFHs regulated in Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, AFHs are licensed and regulated by type:
- Three-bed and four-bed AFHs - These are regulated by DQA. They get licensed based on Wis. Admin. Code. ch. DHS 88.
- One-bed and two-bed AFHs - These are regulated by each county's Human Services department.
All licensed AFHs must follow these laws:
- Wisconsin Admin. Code ch. DHS 12 - Caregiver Background Checks
- Wisconsin Admin. Code ch. DHS 13 - Reporting and Investigation of Caregiver Misconduct
AFHs that don't follow state laws can get their license taken away (based on Wis. Stat. ch. 50).
Adult family home resources
Expand the section that applies to you to view a list of resources. Select a link to learn more.
Along with the directory, these resources can help you learn more about AFH options. Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) doesn't refer people to specific AFHs. We do offer many state and national resources, though, that can help you choose.
- Aging and disability resource centers (ADRCs) - Learn how ADRCs serve the public and how to contact your local ADRC. ADRCs help with issues that affect older adults, people with disabilities, and their families. Your ADRC makes it easy to learn about options near you and apply for programs and benefits. Their services are free if you live in Wisconsin.
- Assisted Living Facility Trends and Statistics - View data about each type of assisted living facility. Includes who they serve, how many they serve, the number of staff, and more.
- Choosing an Assisted Living Facility, P-60579 - Learn about assisted living facilities and keep track of your options. Includes a checklist and questionnaire to guide you.
- Choosing Care Providers - Know what questions to ask and steps to take when finding a new provider. This resource is from the Alzheimer's Association.
- DQA Bureau of Assisted Living brochure, P-00204 (PDF) - Learn about DQA and the Bureau of Assisted Living. See what they regulate and attend an assisted living forum.
- Provider Search - Use the Provider Search tool to find health and residential care providers in Wisconsin. You can filter results to show only certain types of facilities, such as an adult family home.
- Residential Care Options by County - Access details about residential care options based on where you live. Use a map or county listing to select your county and learn more.
DQA takes routine surveys of assisted living facilities in Wisconsin. The goal is to make sure facilities meet state requirements and offer quality care. Results of surveys are public. These resources relate to the surveys:
- Assisted Living Facility Survey Guide - Learn more about the survey process.
- Bureau of Assisted Living Provider Search Monthly Additions, P-02567 (Excel) - See which assisted living facilities have had survey documents added to the Provider Search in the past month.
- Provider Search - Use the Provider Search tool to find health and residential care providers in Wisconsin. View any survey results from the past three years. If you can't find survey information, email DHSWebmailDQA@dhs.wisconsin.gov.
These resources help you understand laws that protect you and your care.
- Client Rights Office - Find out how to get advice about your rights from a team of experts. This office helps people who get services for a disability, mental health, or substance use. They'll tell you more about your rights under the law, Wis. Stat. §§ 51.30 and 51.61, and what they mean.
- Complaints or Problems with Your Health Care - Find out how to file a complaint about your health care. Includes issues with health and residential care facilities, providers, insurance, and medical bills.
- End-of-Life Planning - Learn about how to plan for the end of life. Includes details on advance directives, do-not-resuscitate orders, privacy rights, and more.
- Board on Aging & Long Term Care - Work with this group to learn more about your rights, health care systems, and long-term care. Their job is to advocate for your interests. They have several programs that can help you:
These resources are for those who help an older adult or person with a disability.
- Assisted Living - Find information on topics that help you advocate for quality care. This resource is from The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care.
- Caregiving - Learn how to care for a person with Alzheimer's or dementia. Find resources and tips for caregivers from the Alzheimer's Association.