What are the signs of a resident needing to move from assisted living to skilled nursing?

  1. Molly Dworken 10/16/2012 05:33PM

    An assisted living community and a skilled nursing facility are two very different senior living options, but aren't that far apart on the senior care spectrum. Assisted living is an appropriate setting for an older adult who is still able to be mobile, fairly independent, and in reasonably good health, but requires help with activities of daily living (ADLs), like grooming and making meals. The level of help depends on the individual's needs.

    A skilled nursing facility provides medical care 24 hours a day. Seniors with chronic health issues, declining mental faculties and lack of mobility are usually candidates for skilled nursing. But today's skilled nursing facilities aren't what were once called nursing homes. Seniors in skilled nursing, also called “long-term care,” can enjoy social programs, community visits, and on-site therapies if rehabilitation is required.

    As physical and/or mental health declines in the elderly and they begin to experience decreased mobility, and are relying on more care, it's often best to consider moving to a skilled nursing environment for the proper care. Below are signs that the move may be necessary:

    • The senior has one or more chronic health conditions requiring constant medical care by a physician and medical staff.
    • The senior is too frail, a high fall risk, is unable to take care of any ADLs without assistance and requires supervision to stay safe.
    • The senior has an open wound that cannot be managed on his or her own.
    • The senior needs assistance bearing his or her weight by one or more people.

    If the senior is showing decline in health and has not been evaluated recently by her doctor, an assessment may indicate a higher level of care is needed.