Skilled Nursing Homes

Skilled nursing homes are residential facilities that employ a full medical staff to care for those in need of continual medical attention. This may be an alternative to a long-term stay in a hospitals.

There are two types of residents:

  • long-term care patients expected to stay in the nursing home to live out their life
  • acute-care patients recovering from an illness, surgery, or injury

Nursing homes employ both:

  • doctors, who create care plans for the residents
  • nurses, who carry out the care plans and are responsible for daily assistance

Many nursing homes provide planned activities, increased social interaction, and even classes intended to help seniors stay healthier longer. The more serious a senior’s health concerns, the more likely it is that Medicare will cover expenses.

Services

Like assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities can provide assistance with personal tasks:

  • dressing and bathing
  • wound management and care
  • rehab services
  • extensive medical care

Lack of social stimulation can increase the onset of dementia, so skilled nursing homes can be a great choice for seniors who would otherwise be isolated.

Specialization

Most nursing homes employ:

  • Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)
  • Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs); one year of training after high school
  • Registered Nurses (RNs); two to four years of a nursing program
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists; two to three years of graduate school after nursing school

Preparation

How much assistance does your loved one need?

  • Will this be a permanent situation, or is that unclear? If permanent, estimate in years.
  • What are the particular health concerns that require medical care?
  • What is your monthly budget? How long will the funding be available?

What financial instruments are in place to help cover costs?

  • Medicare
  • Long-term Care Insurance
  • Other types of Insurance
  • Savings, IRA’s, etc.

What complications might you expect? Are there issues that might require special care?

  • Established distrust of medical personnel
  • Depression or anxiety due to moving
  • Dementia

Evaluation

Understand if the facility is:

  • Medicaid/Medicare certified
  • Licensed by the state
  • Staffed by bonded/insured employees
  • How many permanent residents in the facility?

With respect to the caregivers, what are the:

  • caregiver to resident ratios around the clock?
  • minimum qualifications of your nurses?
  • screening processes for employees?

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