A Guide to Nursing Homes
Nursing homes are barely talked about in a positive light. It might be because of the stigma that surrounds them. Residents that seek shelter there are usually impaired and unable to take care of themselves properly.
Even family members who have put their loved ones there can barely admit to it. These homes are pretty helpful for seniors who can't have someone watch them around the clock. But luckily, the perception of these facilities has changed over the years. Many nursing homes around the country are dedicated to taking care of these vulnerable individuals.
You will find charitable nursing homes and high-end homes that will charge you a small fortune to care for a loved one. The choice is yours, and it all depends on the kind of services you are looking for. If you want to understand nursing homes further, keep reading.
What Are Nursing Homes?
A nursing home is the highest level of care for elderly people besides the hospital. They usually have a licensed physician who oversees all the residents. It’s different from most senior facilities because of the intensive care they provide.
They provide care 24 hours a day because most of these residents are in their later years. More than half of the residents have dementia and other similar conditions that can require a lot of supervision. Based on their services, these homes are more expensive than assisted living facilities. A nursing home can cost up to $ 77,000 per year.
But it might reach a point where a nursing home is the only logical solution. That is why people these days plan for retirement while considering such things. There are a lot of myths about these facilities that discourage people from going when they start to age.
Most cultures strongly believe that the family has to take care of elders. But with the reality of the world today, there is barely any time to spare. That is why over 1.5 million people live in nursing homes in the USA.
Who Provides Care In The Nursing Homes?
Nearly every resident in a nursing home needs help with basic activities like taking a bath, getting in and out of bed, or using the toilet. That is why there are personal care aides that help residents get by their daily activities. The ratio should be one aide to one resident. But sometimes, the staff is stretched, so the caregivers have to split their time between several residents.
Most personal care aides are underpaid and overworked. If you find a nursing home with enough staff, their fee will probably be higher than the rest. But you should still make an effort to know the people who will be caring for your family member.
Nursing home residents need medical assistance. There will be physicians, nurse practitioners, and a medical director that will provide supervision. They handle all the medical issues while others take care of other services. There will be dietitians that oversee meals among the staff.
You might also discover that counselors, social workers, and rehabilitation therapists are among the caregivers. Nursing homes offer many more medical services than in the past. Learn everything about the care they provide before you admit a loved one.
The Application Process
Someone will be lying to you if they say the admission process for a nursing home is easy and only takes a few minutes. You first need to take a tour of a few homes before deciding which one to apply to. It will feel like applying for college all over again. Once you settle on one facility, you can start the process.
There is a lot of paperwork required, including financial, personal, and medical records. Sometimes the nursing home only has a few beds available, so you will be competing for space with other people. You will submit the paperwork and wait for them to respond. When they accept, you should be ready to pay their asking fees to get your loved one admitted.
Some residents going to nursing homes qualify for Medicaid, which will cover the care services upon admission. Some facilities that accept Medicaid have a limited number of beds for people who qualify. The other beds are served for residents who pay out of pocket.
Consider their payment methods during the applications process. You must have an idea of what their services will look like long-term. Start your application process early if you don’t want the mountain of paperwork to set you back.
The Home Nursing Residents Have Rights
Abuse and neglect are the biggest fears for people admitting their loved ones into nursing homes. There weren't many regulations that helped nursing homes be more accountable for what happens to the patients while under their care. But these days, there are reforms to ensure your loved ones are in safe hands for the time they will be staying there.
The residents will get highly personalized care from the aides and the medical professionals. If the nursing home has received many complaints in the past, you better look for another facility. There are new laws that limit the use of mood-altering medications and physical restraints to control patients.
Most residents in nursing homes are vulnerable; you must ensure the people you are entrusting your family member with can be respectful of their rights. They must comply with the laws that govern such facilities.
Which Nursing Home Should You Choose?
There are two main types of nursing homes, for-profit and non-profit homes. The type of care your loved one will get depends on who owns the facility. For-profit business nursing homes are said to provide more services but are usually expensive, especially when you don’t qualify for Medicaid. Private nursing homes receive a lot of complaints due to decreased quality care. They also have a lot of violations in the inspections.
Non-profit nursing homes are not perfect either, but they don't receive as many complaints as private facilities. Non-profit homes make a lot of cuts that can affect the quality of care they give to the residents. They also have limited staff; round-the-clock care may be unrealistic in this situation.
Despite these worrying numbers, a few nursing homes can be worth considering. But you have to research and be ready to visit a couple of homes before you decide. You better physically inspect the institution before you admit anyone. Reviews and recommendations are also important.
Nursing homes are here to stay despite the bad rap they receive from the general society. It's the best institution to take care of an elderly person who cannot do basic day-to-day activities. Not all families can dedicate time to take care of senior family members. The only job you have is hunting for the best facility that offers quality care to the patients.