A nursing home is an establishment meant for elderly people who don’t have enough sources of income to cater to their medical health needs or don’t have someone to care for them at home.
This establishment is like a hospital with nurse staff available 24 hours who tend to the needs of their elderly residents. Some nursing homes try their best to establish a homey ambiance for the elderly to feel more at home. Additionally, unlike in hospitals, nurses tend to be more friendly and accommodating so as to establish good relationships with elders.
If you’re elderly or a loved one who’s considering a nursing home, there are many establishments available out there. And in this article, I will share significant information about nursing homes as well as a simple guide to choosing the right nursing home for you.
What Can You Find in a Nursing Home for the Elderly?
Older adults are already in the stage of health decline, that’s why they need more care and attention. Nursing homes provide a wide variety of medical services for the elderly, especially those who are suffering from chronic illnesses, cognitive impairments, and other mental and physical conditions. Each nursing home’s services may vary from one another, but the following are their commonalities:
- Quality nursing care
- Wound care
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Breathing treatments
- Orthopedic care
- Antibiotics and intravenous therapy
- After surgery support and therapy
Aside from medical services, nursing homes also conduct recreational activities, counseling, social work services, end-of-life care, respite care, and hospice care.
A nursing home may provide medical services for the elderly, but it doesn’t mean that they provide intensive care and medical procedures like those found in hospitals. Thus, nursing homes only provide necessary care based on their resident’s needs.
Why Consider a Nursing Home?
Opting for a nursing home for you or for your older loved one can be a tough decision to make, considering the emotional consequences it may bring. Some families decide on taking their loved ones to a nursing home because of the unavailability of relatives to provide care or a worsening illness that needs more serious attention.
Whatever the reason is, careful assessment of the situation is still crucial before making a final decision. When considering a nursing home, try to ask yourself these questions:
Are the Needs Can Be Safely Met In the Nursing Home?
If you have a severe condition such as a rapidly progressing Alzheimer’s disease, then a skilled nursing home facility is the best option for you. In milder cases where 24-hour care is not needed, the assisted living facility is a better choice.
Has There Been a Recent Medical Assessment?
If you have just been released from hospitalization and are considering a nursing home, your transfer usually doesn’t need further paper works. However, if you are planning to transfer to a nursing home from your home or another nursing facility, there will be a careful assessment as to what your needs are and what nursing homes are suitable for your health care needs.
Is the Need for a Nursing Home Permanent or Temporary?
Before deciding to be admitted to a nursing home, you should also ask yourself if your stay there will be short-term or permanent. If you just had surgery and need support services, this is considered a temporary stay, and most insurances usually cover the cost. However, if your situation requires a permanent stay, expect that it might be a bit more expensive and will not be wholly covered by your insurance.
Can a Caregiver Be Enough to Meet the Needs?
Caregivers play a vital role in providing necessary care for the elderly. However, in some situations, home care services are not enough and the patient needs more than what a caregiver can provide especially for older adults who have severe health conditions or are terminally ill.
Factors Affecting Admission
There are also factors that increase your chances of getting admitted to a nursing home. These factors include:
- Age - The more you get older, the higher your risk of getting admitted to a nursing home. In fact, recent statistics stated that about 15% of elderly people 85 years above live in nursing homes compared to 1.1% of the elderly aged 65-74 years.
- Poor family support - Poor family support is another major factor that contributes to your possible admission. Elderly people whose families barely provide health and financial support and are separated are most likely to live in a nursing home.
- Low income - Elderly people who belong to low-income families are usually admitted to nursing homes due to a lack of health care, especially people who are terminally ill or are suffering from severe cases of immobility and mental conditions.
- Low social activity - Low social activity is also linked to a lack of medical attention and care.
- Mental and functional difficulties - Elderly people who are unable to do basic tasks like taking a bath, changing clothes, or brushing their teeth need more care and attention, which makes a nursing home a good option. This goes the same with those who have mobility issues.
- Geriatric syndromes - Cases such as frailty, dementia, frequent falls, and other common elderly conditions need the support of a skilled nursing home.
- Race or ethnicity - According to recent studies, Caucasians or white-skinned people are more likely to be admitted to nursing homes than Blacks and Hispanics.
Guide for Choosing
When you finally decided on transferring to a nursing home, another tricky part is choosing the right facility for you or for your older loved one’s needs.
It’s also advisable to visit the nursing home of your choice to get a feel of the place’s atmosphere and staff. You may also ask yourself any of the questions below to help you evaluate what nursing home is the most suitable.
- How is the nursing home maintained?
- Are the residents well taken care of?
- How are the rooms in terms of size, privacy, and space?
- What recreational activities and areas are there?
- Is it licensed and certified by
- Medicare and Medicaid?
- How much is the cost of services?
- What costs are covered by insurance?
- What’s the distance of the nursing home from the family residence?
- What other services are offered?
- Are there safety features in the facility? (e.g., railings)
You can also ask medical staff, administrators, and directors about other information that might be useful for your evaluation.
Some elderly fear being transferred to nursing homes due to negative myths about the facilities. Fortunately, nowadays most nursing homes are now committed to providing highly regulated and high-quality services for older adults who are in need of care and attention.
Before opting for a nursing home, you should always weigh things down first and ask the questions mentioned earlier. And when you finally made a decision, now it’s time to carefully evaluate whether a nursing home is suitable for your needs. I hope this article helped you understand nursing homes for the elderly.