Nursing homes provide the most intensive level of care that is available outside of a hospital. These settings are best for someone who needs frequent or around-the-clock care provided by a skilled nurse in addition to custodial care (assistance with activities of daily living). Many families look into nursing home placement when their loved one’s care needs become too challenging or specialized for them to handle at home. Another common scenario occurs when a patient’s care needs increase and they must transition from a lower level of care, such as assisted living, to a nursing home.
Some of these facilities may also have a special wing for dementia patients and/or patients who require short-term inpatient rehabilitative care following an accident, surgery or acute illness.
To find nursing homes near you, search the AgingCare.com Nursing Home Directory. Our Care Advisors will assist your family with making senior living arrangements. This service is provided free of charge.
The services provided in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) are extensive. Staff can assist patients with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, toileting and walking as well as administer medications, IVs, injections, wound care, tube feedings and other tasks that must be done by a trained nurse.
The following services are commonly offered, but can vary from community to community. Be sure to ask when touring.
|Room and Housing|
Rooms vary in size and layout and may be private or semi-private. Rooms are typically furnished and some may include a private bathroom. Housekeeping and laundry services are included.
Three nutritious meals are provided daily, and some facilities may accommodate special diets. Meals can be taken in the patient’s room or in a communal dining room.
|Assistance with ADLs|
Assistance with eating, bathing and personal hygiene, dressing, medication management, toileting, incontinence care, and walking/mobility are all provided.
Services include regular health monitoring, pharmacy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nurses and/or a physician onsite.
|Social and Recreational Activities|
Common areas for socializing, pet therapy programs, library, gentle exercise programs, hobbies and crafts, TV room, gardening, holiday events, board games and cards, musical events, and religious services are standard.
Provided for doctor’s appointments.
Facilities offer mobility assistance and accept patients who use wheelchairs.
Staff members are available 24 hours per day to assist patients with ADLs and medical care.
Each nursing home has a visitor’s policy, but residents are typically allowed to have visitors any time as long as it does not interfere with the care and privacy of other residents.
Nursing home care is typically paid for through private funds. Contrary to popular belief, Medicare will only cover short-term skilled nursing care for a limited number of days following a patient’s eligible hospitalization.
Deciding to place your loved in a nursing home can be a difficult decision. Touring each prospective option at least once is the best way to get a feel for what it will be like to live there. It is important to interact with the staff, get feedback from current residents, see the grounds and accommodations in person, and even sample a meal from the dining room.
Be sure to look up inspection records, incident reports, official and resident ratings and reviews before making a selection. Weighing others’ experiences with the impressions you receive on tours will help you choose the right fit.
Here are a few steps to help you find the right community…
Learn more about nursing homes with these articles written by elder care experts and experienced caregivers.