What is Nursing Home

Nursing Home

A nursing home is a place of residence for individuals who cannot adequately care for themselves yet do not require hospital-level care.(1) Skilled nursing facilities - also known as convalescent care facilities, long-term care facilities and congregate living health facilities - provide a standard of care that undoubtedly exceeds the government's definition.

Nursing homes vary in terms of cost, appearance, and services offered. Some nursing homes are state-funded, while others are privately operated. Short-term nursing care is offered for patients who recently underwent surgery, are recovering from an acute illness or injury, or who need rehabilitation services. Similarly, long-term nursing care is offered for individuals who live with a chronic illness, terminal condition or cognitive disorder. Typically, individuals with chronic illnesses will permanently remain in nursing homes, where they have immediate access to the level of care that they need.

A nursing home's appearance is often dependent on the type of care it offers. Nursing homes that provide medical care to recovering patients are designed to match the individual's needs. These homes may be set up like hospitals, with nursing stations on each floor and providing various types of therapy. Physical, occupational and speech therapy are services that are often included in these facilities. Facilities that cater to long-term residents have a homier atmosphere and are generally less restrictive in their day-to-day schedules. Residents are more than welcome to use kitchens and other facilities of the home. Additionally, staff members are highly encouraged to develop relationships with the residents.

Nursing Home Regulations

Before 1986, state law alone governed nursing homes. However, after the Institute of Medicine issued a report on the quality of nursing homes in the U.S., it was evident that many residents were dissatisfied with the quality of care that they received. States were doing a poor job of regulating long-term care facilities, which led to the Nursing Home Reform Act the following year.

Congress enacted the Nursing Home Reform Act in 1987. The Nursing Home Reform Act set new provisions for facilities that wish to participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs. This act raised the standards for care in the nursing home setting, tremendously. Today, both state and federal laws govern nursing home facilities.

Per the Nursing Home Reform Act, all convalescent care facilities must offer services and activities designed to help residents attain or maintain the highest practicable mental, physical and psycho-social well-being. (2) Prior to enrollment in a nursing facility, the resident must undergo an initial comprehensive assessment to determine their functional capacity. Subsequently, the facility must develop a care plan designed to ensure the resident's well being as well as providing opportunities for improvement. The care plan also includes methods geared towards preventing further deterioration of the resident's ability to dress, ambulate, bathe, groom, eat, toilet and communicate.

Each nursing facility will provide services that resonate differently for every resident. However, long-term care facilities must offer the following:
  • Nursing and Related Services: The goal of a nursing home is to ensure patient safety and comfort. Staff accomplish this by performing ongoing palliative and preventative care.

  • Rehabilitative Services: Long-term care facilities offer specialized rehabilitative services including speech, occupational, physical, respiratory, cognitive and vocational therapy.

  • Medically Related Social Services: Nursing home staff provide medically related services, including treatment for medical conditions and medication management.

  • Individualized Dietary Services: The meals in convalescent homes must meet the daily nutritional requirements and the unique dietary needs of each resident.

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About Assisted Living

Assisted living communities provide 24-hour care for seniors who need help with daily tasks - such as dressing, grooming, and medication management - but don't need ongoing skilled medical services. Assisted living facilities offer a maintenance-free lifestyle that includes restaurant-style meals, wellness programs, housekeeping services, and opportunities for social activities and outings. Some assisted living communities also offer amenities such as gyms, beauty salons and barber shops, and space for gardening.

Complete guide to assisted living

About Memory Care

Memory care, sometimes called Alzheimer's care, provides housing and 24-hour care for seniors with dementia or other types of memory loss. Memory care facilities offer a safe, uniquely designed environment for residents to improve quality of life, reduce confusion, and prevent wandering. Staff at memory care facilities receive special training to help prevent and minimize difficult dementia behaviors. These communities also offer memory-enhancing activities - such as music and art therapy - in addition to many of the services available at assisted living, such as prepared meals, housekeeping, laundry, and assistance with daily activities, such as dressing, bathing, and grooming.

Complete guide to Memory Care

About Nursing Home

A nursing home is a place of residence for individuals who cannot adequately care for themselves yet do not require hospital-level care.(1) Skilled nursing facilities - also known as convalescent care facilities, long-term care facilities and congregate living health facilities - provide a standard of care that undoubtedly exceeds the government's definition. Nursing homes vary in terms of cost, appearance, and services offered. Some nursing homes are state-funded, while others are privately operated. Short-term nursing care is offered for patients who recently underwent surgery, are recovering from an acute illness or injury, or who need rehabilitation services. Similarly, long-term nursing care is offered for individuals who live with a chronic illness, terminal condition or cognitive disorder. Typically, individuals with chronic illnesses will permanently remain in nursing homes, where they have immediate access to the level of care that they need.

Complete guide to Nursing Home

About Independent Living

Independent living facilities, also called retirement communities or retirement homes, provide a carefree lifestyle. Older adults who want to enjoy retirement without the responsibilities of home upkeep and other daily chores often thrive in senior independent living communities. Independent living offers dining options, housekeeping and maintenance services, and plenty of opportunities for social activities.

Complete guide to Independent living

About Senior Apartment

Senior apartment communities are tailored to the needs of active adults over age 55. Senior 55 plus communities often feature amenities such as golf, swimming pools, tennis courts, and fitness centers to attract the older adults who want a low maintenance lifestyle. Most community fees include utilities, landscaping services, home maintenance services and security. Senior apartments do not offer the type of personal care services that assisted living communities and memory care facilities provide.

Complete guide to Senior Apartment

About Care Home

Care homes, also known as adult family homes, board and care homes, residential care or personal care homes offer personalized service to small groups of adults. These residential homes provide lodging, meal services and assistance with daily living activities.

Complete guide to Care Homes

About Home Care

For older adults who are recovering from surgery, illness or need assistance at home, hiring an in home caregiver can be a lifesaver. Home care aides provide comfort, support, meals, transportation and coordinate care between home, family members, doctors and the hospital. Home care agencies offer 24/7 live in home health aide support to hourly as needed assistance. Requirements for home health aide training, certification and education vary by state. It's important to ensure you find dependable, trusted caregivers for your loved ones.

Complete guide to Home Care

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