Nursing homes, often called skilled nursing facilities, senior care centers, rest homes or rehabilitation centers, are intended to provide different levels of care for those seniors who require continuous medical attention and need significant assistance with the activities of daily living or ADL. ADL aid usually includes bathing, grooming, dressing, help with meals and using the bathroom. The majority of nursing homes are stand-alone facilities, but there are also senior care units found within some hospitals or as a separate level-of-care senior living option in an assisted living community.
While the overall goal of nursing home facility care is to help individuals meet their daily physical, medical, social, and psychological needs, the type of care a senior receives depends on their specific health goals and requirements. Nursing home stays are primarily for long-term care, but if a resident is placed there for rehabilitation and recovery from surgery or other traumatic health event, the stay may be shorter-term, depending on the patient’s prognosis and progress.
Nursing home residents not only receive assistance with ADLs but also specialized care provided by skilled nursing and medical staff for more advanced health issues. The treatment might include dispensing complex medications, giving injections or maintaining IV's, catheters, or ventilators, and advanced wound care. Issues that affect the elderly such as incontinence and limited mobility are also addressed, with residents often requiring transfer assistance from bed to bathroom. The safety of senior residents is a top priority in nursing homes and the facilities are required by federal law to have a licensed nurse on duty 24 hours a day.
Although some private rooms are available in nursing homes, residents typically share a room and meals are served in a central dining area. Menus are designed to meet residents’ dietary requirements. Healthy meal planning and appealing to residents’ appetites are important features and amenities of nursing homes. Allied therapy staff members, such as the Activities Director, design and provide residents with activities for mental, physical, and social stimulation.
The care residents receive in nursing homes is costly. According to a 2014 Genworth Long Term Care survey, the average cost of nursing home care ranges from $212 to $240 daily. The cost of care will vary by type of facility, geographic location, and the complexity and level of care provided. Due to the high costs, many residents use supplemental funding from the government in the form of Medicare and/or Medicaid and long-term care insurance is another option for assistance with costs. It’s best to check your individual Medicare, Medicaid or supplemental insurance coverage to determine your benefits.
There are many things you should be looking for when touring a facility. We recommend you use our checklist as a guideline. Deciding on a Nursing Home is not an easy task and it’s best to be as informed as possible in order to make the best choice for quality care. We recommend you use our FREE details facility reports to compare options.
To find nursing home options in your area, you can search using the form below.
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