1.What is a Nursing Home?
While many seniors may want to age in their homes, it is not always feasible. A nursing home is one available option for seniors who can no longer live on their own. These facilities provide room and board, access to care, and supplementary services to keep seniors active. Stays at a nursing home may be short-term after a procedure at the hospital. It can also be a long-term care option in which residents live at the facilities for as long as appropriate. By providing residential care to seniors, nursing homes prevent some of the dangers that occur from living alone or in senior housing.
1.1 What is the difference between:
Nursing Home Vs. Skilled Nursing Facility
A nursing home helps residents with daily living activities, while a skilled nursing facility focuses on providing healthcare. Some nursing homes may also have skilled nursing units. Skilled nursing facilities are typically for shorter stays while a patient rehabilitates. Nursing homes are for long-term residents.
Nursing Home Vs. Home Health Care
While people at nursing homes live at the facility, home health care or private duty nursing allows seniors to remain at home. An aide provides regular nursing care and assistance with activities of daily living at home.
Nursing Home Vs. Home Care (non-skilled care at home)
Unlike living in a nursing home, home care allows seniors to stay at home and receive non-medical care. A caregiver assists with daily living activities and companionship at home.
Nursing Home Vs. Assisted Living
An assisted living facility is for people who can still do many tasks for themselves but need help with specific tasks. Seniors may come and go as they please. Some nursing homes do have assisted living units, and some seniors transfer from an assisted living facility to a nursing home as their ability to care for themselves declines.
Nursing Home Vs. Memory Care Facility
Memory care facilities exist to create a place for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other neurological disorders. These can be standalone facilities, but many are memory care units either inside of a nursing home or an assisted living facility.
Nursing Home Vs. Senior Living
In a senior living community (also known as a retirement community), there may be apartments, homes, or townhouses just for seniors. Seniors need to be independent to live in these communities. Residents in nursing homes are not independent.
Nursing Home Vs. Retirement Home
A retirement home is a home, apartment, or facility that is for older seniors who live independently.
Nursing Home Vs. Independent Living
Nursing homes do not require residents to take care of themselves. Independent living facilities are for seniors and disabled adults who can primarily engage in activities of daily living without assistance.
Nursing Home Vs. Continuing Care Retirement Community
A continuing care retirement community (CCRC) may have a nursing home on its campus, but a CCRC offers a fuller spectrum of care. It includes independent living and higher-order care facilities too.
2. Who benefits from a nursing home?
There are many reasons to consider a nursing home, but seniors and loved ones might consider a nursing home if any of the following apply.
- The senior cannot engage in essential activities of daily living without support.
- The home environment is a high-risk environment for falls.
- Seniors who experience disorientation or memory care issues.
- Someone who needs 24-hour care.
- Seniors who need medical care.
What are the conditions that make nursing homes the right type of care for a person?
Some conditions lend themselves to nursing home care due to the level of support staff can provide. Conditions may include:
- Parkinson’s disease;
- Post-surgical rehabilitation;
- Heart problems:
- Mobility issues; and,
- Breathing problems.
3. What are the nursing home care services?
Nursing home care provides services that enable seniors to stay clean and healthy, while often providing social opportunities. Services vary by facility, but these are some of the common services in nursing home care.
- Bathing: Due to the danger of falls or mobility problems, nursing home aides can help residents shower or bathe. They can also help residents get in and out of the shower. Facilities have a design that includes safety precautions, such as large showers, grab bars, and shower seats.
- Toileting: Staff can help those who need assistance going to the bathroom and those with incontinence issues.
- Dressing: For those with limited ability to dress due to arthritis, mental acuity, or other reasons, nursing home staff can assist residents in buttoning their clothes and getting dressed.
- Grooming: With a lack of mobility and awareness, comes an inability to perform tasks, such as hair brushing, dental maintenance, and trimming nails. Nursing homes give patients a hand with these tasks.
- Meal Preparation: Preparing meals at home can range from difficult to dangerous for some seniors. At a nursing home, seniors do not prepare meals. Instead, residents receive their meals from the facility. They can even get assistance with eating.
- Transportation: Nursing homes may provide medical and non-medical transportation or helps residents make arrangements.
- Light Housekeeping: Nursing home residents do not need to worry about keeping their rooms clean. Housekeepers perform duties, such as vacuuming, dusting, and sterilizing.
- Laundry: Seniors often have issues lifting and standing to do the laundry. At nursing homes, residents do not need to do their own laundry.
- Security: Nursing homes generally have 24/7 security to keep residents safe and log visitations.
- Recreational Activities: To stimulate residents and provide social interaction, many nursing homes have programs and activities for residents. This could include dances, socials, gardening, reading, and more.
- Fall Prevention: Falls are extremely dangerous for seniors, as it can lead to debilitating injuries. Nursing homes have protocols and designs to prevent falls.
4. What are the skilled nursing facility services?
These are some of the primary services that many skilled nursing facilities offer.
- Physical Therapy: Skilled nursing facilities have physical therapists on-site who can deliver daily therapy to patients to enable their recovery and improve mobility.
- Occupational Therapy: At nursing homes, occupational therapists perform exercises with patients to help them with instrumental activities of daily living or other goals a patient may have.
- Speech Therapy: Seniors who need to work on eating, swallowing, and communicating due to neurological decline or injury.
- Infusion Therapy: Infusion therapy is the use of IVs to infuse medicine or hydration. Only a skilled medical professional can offer this service, such as in a skilled nursing facility.
- Portable Diagnostic Service: Nursing homes can provide some diagnostics in-house, such as x-rays, ultrasounds, and EKGs, with portable diagnostic services.
- Respiratory Care: Medical professionals can give patients breathing treatments, including oxygen, at a nursing home.
- Outpatient Rehabilitation: Outpatient rehabilitation allows patients to go for the day to a nursing home for services but go home at night. This could be especially helpful for people without daytime care at home.
- Hospice Care: Hospice care often involves the administration of medication to keep patients comfortable and out of pain at the end of their lives. Some nursing homes offer this, along with companion care.
- Sub-acute Care: Sub-acute care in a nursing home provides intensive care for those released from the hospital after an injury or emergency.
5. What to expect in Nursing Homes?
Residential life at a nursing home starts early. Nurses wake patients up to get them ready for breakfast. They help them get dressed and usually have a morning activity. A second afternoon activity may occur between lunch and dinner. After free time, nurses help patients get ready and into bed. Residents may also have medical appointments, external activities, or visitors.
5.1 What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Nursing Homes?
Whether a nursing home is the right place for someone is an individual decision. There are both advantages and disadvantages of moving into a nursing home.
Advantages of Nursing Homes
- Residents have full-time care.
- Seniors at-risk of wondering off have 24/7 security.
- Seniors have opportunities for social interaction.
- Nursing homes staff have training to handle emergencies.
Disadvantages of Nursing Homes
- Residents have a lack of independence in comparison to living at home.
- Nursing homes can be expensive.
- There are limited options for financing nursing homes.
- Residents have a set menu and activities.
6. What are some of the largest Nursing Homes?
While it is impossible to recommend a particular nursing home to an individual, looking into some of the largest nursing homes can give potential residents an understanding of some of the services and experiences at nursing homes.
Manorcare/ProMedica Senior Care: Manorcare/ProMedica Senior Care offers hospice care, skilled nursing, non-skilled nursing, and memory care for residents.
Good Shepherd Nursing Home: Good Shepard Nursing Home has services for long-term residents that include assistance with daily activities, salon services, medication management, and social activities.
St. Joseph Nursing Home: St. Joseph Nursing Home offers skilled nursing for long-term and short-term stays, rehabilitation therapies, and sub-acute care.
Crestview Nursing Home: Crestview Nursing Home offers short-term and long-term skilled nursing care with services in portable diagnostics, infusion therapy, respiratory care, wound care, and more.
Life Care Centers of America: Life Care Centers of America has skilled nursing care, memory care, and rehabilitation services.
Consulate Health Care: Consulate Health Care gives residents, regardless of the length of stay, access to skilled nursing services and other services, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and memory care.
Extendicare: Extendicare features 24/7 skilled nursing, on-site doctors and medical care, access to rehabilitative therapies, and specialized diets.
7. How to Choose a Nursing Home?
It can be difficult to know which nursing home to choose. Understanding the bad signs at a nursing home and the good signs at a nursing home can help people choose the right one.
7.1 What are the signs of a bad Nursing Home?
These are some of the signs of a bad nursing home.
- Changes in the mood or physical presentation of the resident;
- Higher injury rates occurring in the nursing home;
- Poor hygiene of the residents;
- Dirty rooms or laundry;
- A large staff-to-resident ratio; and,
- A lack of services.
7.2 What are the signs of a good Nursing Home?
These are some of best signs of a good nursing home.
- Awards and positive consumer reports;
- Medicare-certified nursing homes;
- State licensing;
- Social activities;
- Low resident-to-staff ratio; and,
- Access to services.
Seniors and their families are encouraged to check Medicare nursing home reviews and consider spending couple of nights in a nursing home before they make a final decision.
8. How to pay for a Nursing Home?
The average cost of a semi-private nursing home room is $6,844 and $7,698 for a private room. There are different options to pay for these costs.
Medicare pays for short-term residence at a skilled nursing home during rehabilitation after a hospital stay. Seniors cannot use Medicare for long-term care. Instead, seniors may use Medicare for medical purposes.
Many nursing homes do accept Medicaid for payment. Medicaid coverage varies by state, and seniors must meet certain income requirements for eligibility.
Long-term Care Insurance
Whether or not long-term care insurance covers nursing home stays depends on the individual policy. Seniors and their loved ones should check their policies to determine eligibility.
Many nursing home residents pay privately for their nursing home expenses.
9. What are the alternative care options to Nursing Homes?
If seniors decide against a nursing home, there are other options to make sure they receive the care they need. Options may include the following:
- Home care;
- Home health care;
- Assisted living;
- Adult daycare;
- Independent living; or,
- Retirement communities.