Choosing a Nursing Home

In this Article:
Choosing a Nursing Home
Costs, Medicare and Medicade
Choosing the Right Home
Nursing Home Checklist

Choosing a Nursing HomeNursing homes cater to elderly individuals who, due to a variety of incapacitating physical or emotional health conditions, can no longer properly care for themselves, and whose care requires round-the-clock attention. They may be discharged directly from a hospital to a nursing home, or they may enter one because their ability to manage their daily activities has almost fully deteriorated.

Because the need for these facilities can sometimes arrive at a moment’s notice, it is recommended that research into nursing homes begin before such an emergency arises in order to avoid making split-second and often emotional decisions that later, one might wish to have back.

The following piece is designed to inform the reader on nursing homes and how to select the home that is most appropriate for one’s loved ones.

Nursing Homes: Alternatives


Nursing homes are not provisional or rehabilitation facilities; they are permanent residences. Since some patients do not require the full services of a nursing home, but may need outside help with the more demanding necessities of life, such as grocery shopping, such services are indeed available and should be considered. In order to find out more about assisted senior living services, inquire with one’s regular physician or contact the Office on Aging within one’s home state.

Nursing Homes: Patient’s medical needs


Nursing homes are not a one-size-fits-all; rather, they tend to fall into three general categories, each of which addresses the needs of the patient:

Skilled nursing care:


Skilled nursing care is for conditions which demand round-the-clock, 24-hour medical attention by trained nurses, therapists or other health care professionals. It may only be temporary, such as post-operative or following an illness, or it could last indefinitely. Treatment plans are intensive and generally dictated by one’s regular physician and carried out by the home’s staff.

Intermediate nursing care:


Intermediate nursing care treats individuals whose condition is stable and does not demand 24-hour attention, but who nonetheless need daily care. One’s regular physician dictates treatment plans but since they are not as intensive, the care is not as specialized and can often amount to skilled nurses supervising certified nurse’s assistants, who manage the patient in daily issues, such as bathing and eating.

Custodial care:


Custodial care is fairly fundamental care, in that it is designed to help patients who can no longer bathe, eat or dress without assistance. Because it does not require concentrated medical care, those performing custodial care are generally without medical skills.

Along with these three general categories, keep in mind that many nursing homes offer services to treat patients whose conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, demand specialized treatment.

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