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Nursing Homes

Moving a step beyond assisted living are nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities. For seniors needing comprehensive, 24-hour medical attention, this can be the best option. Nursing homes can either be freestanding facilities or smaller units within a hospital or continuing care retirement community campus. Despite negative the stereotypes of stuffy, unappealing facilities, nursing homes are working toward a more resident-centered approach with what services they provide and the etiquette of their staff members.  

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Understanding Nursing Homes

In 2014, the number of nursing homes in the United States was an estimated 15,600 facilities. Since then, the senior population has continued to grow to prompt more facilities to emerge throughout the country. Just over 42 percent of all nursing home residents are 85 and older, with more than two-thirds of all residents being women. With so many people taking up residence in nursing homes, there’s good reason to believe they can be a well-fitting solution for those with long-term care needs.

Nursing homes are designed with the needs of their residents in mind, offering comprehensive medical and social services. In a clean, healthy environment, residents have access to 24-hour skilled nursing care complete with all the facets of a homey space. Medical professionals work to provide optimal care in every way, ensuring that residents can achieve their highest state of well-being. Many nursing home facilities also have specific memory care units for individuals with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Overall, nursing homes are meant to be safe and secure areas that provide everything necessary to live a healthy and social life as a senior.

Overview of Services:

  • 24-hour skilled nursing services
  • Specialized care (rehabilitation and physical therapy)
  • Assistance with hygiene
  • Laundry services and housekeeping
  • Full room and board
  • Medication management
  • Mobility assistance and equipment
  • Full, nutritious meals
  • Memory care
  • Social engagement
  • Entertainment and recreation
  • Transportation

Costs and Payment Options

Nursing home costs can vary greatly throughout the United States, ranging anywhere from $53,000 to $281,000 a year depending on your location. Median annual prices for private rooms cash in at $91,250, with semi-private rooms at $80,300. Depending on whether individuals need memory care, additional costs may be added. Listed below is a short range of prices found throughout the country: 

The cost of moving to a nursing home can be difficult for many families to pay out-of-pocket completely. Even after private funds deplete, other options like Medicare and standard life insurance policies rarely cover the entire costs of care. Many people end up turning to Medicaid for the majority of their financial assistance, mainly due to the fact that it covers over 100 days of care, unlike Medicare. 

Although you may still pay out-of-pocket each month, Medicare picks up the rest of the bill for individuals eligible within the established income and asset limits per state. These limits change based on your marital status and other medical conditions, so be sure to review the specifics for your location. It’s important to move your assets and represent your income transparently in order to retain the care you need. For more information, contact an advisor well versed in elder law to ensure your transition is copacetic.

Licensing and Staff

Dedicated medical professionals along with administrative and support staff comprise most of the employees with whom you’ll interact as a nursing home resident. Caregivers consist of registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, certified nursing assistants, physical therapists, or dieticians. Nursing home medical personnel work closely with one another to provide you with care tailored to your needs.

If a facility is Medicare or Medicaid-certified then it will be held to state and federal laws, regulations, and compliance information. When visitors and residents have the ability to review the past inspections and official HCFA-2567 reports to confirm the safety of a facility and any previous violations that stand uncorrected. If significant problems arise, a temporary manager or state monitor may be appointed to maintain the facility while the issues are resolved.

Entering a nursing home doesn’t mean your rights as a United States citizen get left behind. The Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee that your freedoms, privacy, and ability to act autonomously are preserved while receiving care. Residents have the right to manage their personal and financial affairs and air grievances. If these rights are violated, don’t hesitate to contact a legal advisor familiar with senior law. 

Finding Your Senior Care Option

With so many different types of senior care available, it can seem overwhelming to decide which option is the best for you. Independent living or senior living communities can fit well for individuals with greater physical mobility, while nursing homes accommodate people who may need more assistance with transferring and other activities. Other options like CCRCs allow people to receive care at all levels, however, they can be considerably more expensive. Finding the right balance between your finances, health needs, and current location can reveal the long-term care option to best fit your lifestyle.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Skilled Nursing Facility?

A skilled nursing facility (SNF) is a clinical care provider that offers 24-hour licensed nursing care. An SNF primarily provides services for residents requiring medical and nursing care and/or therapy services for rehabilitation. A licensed physician supervises each patient’s care and a nurse or other medical professional is always on-site.

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Will I be able to bring my dog along with me to a nursing home?

Although it depends on the rules of your particular community, it is becoming increasingly popular among many nursing homes to allow pets. Most of the time, it will depend on the size of the animal, as well as their temperament and training. If you’re considering getting a pet, it might be appropriate to consider having it trained as a service animal in order to ensure your nursing home will accept it.

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Finding the perfect senior care community is only part of making your loved one’s senior living transition smooth. At SeniorCaring, we know that it is also equally important to be aware of what other community services and resources are available to your family’s senior. Choose your location and find local resources for your senior.