Today in the United States there are over 16,000 nursing homes. Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities (SNF), are for seniors who require constant medical care and need significant assistance with the activities of daily living. The goal of care in a nursing home is to help individuals meet their daily physical, medical, social, and psychological needs. Nursing homes are generally stand alone facilities, but some are operated within a hospital or an assisted living community.
Activities of daily living include bathing, dressing, and meal preparation but may also extend to assistance with transportation, paying bills, making appointments, and simply being there to provide companionship and emotional support. Home care services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be paid for directly by the client or through a variety of public and private funding sources such as Long Term Care Insurance, Workers Compensation, and Medicaid.
Residents of nursing homes generally have high care needs and complex medical conditions that require routine skilled nursing services. Due to the constant care needs of its residents, nursing homes are required by federal law to have a licensed nurse on duty 24 hours a day. Residents typically share a room and are served meals in a central dining area. Residents should have the opportunity to be involved in activities that provide mental, physical, and social stimulation. Be sure to ask about activities offered when you tour the facility.
Once you find a community that is within your affordable price range and desired location, it is important to assess the community, not only to determine whether your loved one will feel welcomed but whether its staff properly care for residents.
Before moving your parent or loved one to a community, take the time to take a tour and see its community life for yourself. Ask to join residents for lunch and see the interactions between residents and staff, but also visit during random times of the day, rather than just during dining or activity hours, to see how residents are cared for. Because touring may be overwhelming, be sure to bring a checklist with you to note certain features of the community, such the overall physical appearance or any odors. And most importantly, do not be afraid to ask questions and trust your instincts about a community.
The average cost of care for nursing home care ranges between $6000 and $10,000 per month. Cost is determined by the level of care needed, the setting where the care is provided, and the geographic location. Due to the high cost of care, many residents use supplemental funding from the government in the form of Medicare and/or Medicaid.
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