Our Nursing Home Nightmare
The year before her heart attack, Mom fell and was hospitalized for several days. After the hospital stay, she spent about two weeks at an inpatient senior rehabilitation center. This facility also served as a nursing home for long-term care residents. Mom was happy while she was recuperating there, and everything seemed fine with the staff and the care and physical therapy she was receiving.
After Moms heart attack, we suddenly realized that her current living arrangement was no longer safe. We needed to find a quality nursing home where she could live permanently and receive the care and supervision she needed. Naturally, the first place we thought of was the senior rehab facility she was already familiar with. This facility was only a few minutes drive from the hospital, which made it seem like a win-win situation for all of us.
Because we had previous experience with this skilled nursing facility, we didnt bother checking its online reviews, stopping in to speak to the administrator or taking a tour. They already had a bed available and accepted residents on a Medicaid-pending basis, so we signed the admission forms, began the Medicaid application process and moved Mom right in.
As you might imagine, I was both furious with the facility for mistreating her and racked with guilt for placing her in this awful situation. I had trusted this nursing home based upon our previous experience there and it turned out they were completely neglecting my mother and her needs.
Narrow Your Choices And Make A Selection
- Narrow choices and re-visit the facilities under consideration again at a different time of day if possible
- Contact the admissions staff for advise about the admission process
- Meet with the administrator and key staff to discuss specific concerns you may have about care needs and personal preferences
- Ask to participate in care planning decisions
- Be sure to visit often and remain involved in your loved one’s ongoing care
When To Consider Searching For A Nursing Home
Ideally, the search for a nursing home doesnt begin bedside in a hospital. Instead, having conversations early about safe living environments with your loved ones gives you time to ask questions, find answers, understand their priorities and honor their wishes as they navigate the healthy aging process. You can visit some of the facilities or environments to see what theyre like, talk to people who live there and, if you schedule a tour, eat lunch at the facility.
Nearly 80% of people ages 50 and older want to stay in their homes as they age, according to a 2021 survey conducted by the AARPWhere We Live, Where We Age: Trends in Home and Community Preferences. AARP. Accessed 6/16/2022. . Meanwhile, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that nearly 1.3 million people in the U.S. resided in nursing homes in 2020Total Number of Residents in Certified Nursing Facilities. KFF. Accessed 6/16/2022. .
When searching for a nursing home, its important to first consider the functional level of your loved one and their ability to care for themselves, as well as what their support system looks like, says Irene Nobles, legal nurse consultant and president of Allegiant Health Advisors.
What To Do If Your Plan Isn’t Working
If you have explained your concerns to the nursing home staff and you and the older person are still dissatisfied, you can call your state long-term care ombudsman. The number for the regional ombudsman in your area is usually posted in the public areas of the nursing home. You can obtain the number for the ombudsman by calling your county or state office of aging. You can also call The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care .
If you decide to look for a new nursing home, repeat the steps listed earlier. Be sure that the new location will meet the older persons needs better than the present one. Do not move just to get away from a problem only to discover that the new location is no better or has worse problems.
Skilled Nursing Facility Services
Services and amenities at skilled nursing facilities focus on medical care with 24-hour medical supervision and help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, using the bathroom and getting in and out bed. Your loved one may need to be in a skilled nursing facility if they are on a respirator, require regular physical or occupational therapy, are recovering from surgery or have wounds that require ongoing medical care. Skilled nursing facilities provide 24-hour staffing by licensed or registered nurses, with other staff members typically including social services and rehabilitation teams.
Health-related care and services offered at nursing homes vary by facility, but federal requirements specify that each nursing home must provide the following
- Nursing and related services
- Routine dental services as covered under your states plan
- Room and bed maintenance services
- Routine personal hygiene items and services
- Specialized rehabilitative services for treatment of a mental illness or intellectual disability
If a resident is unable to perform activities of daily living on their own, nursing facilities must also provide services to maintain good nutrition, grooming and personal and oral hygiene. They may also provide other services, including:
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Paying For Nursing Homes
Paying for nursing home care is a major concern for most people. If people enter a nursing home directly from a hospital, Medicare will often pay, but only for a limited time. When people enter from their own home, they usually pay for the nursing home stay themselves. After personal resources are spent, many nursing home residents become eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid is regulated by both federal and state laws and provides funding that will pay most nursing home costs for people with limited income and assets. Eligibility for Medicaid varies by state and is provided only to persons in Medicaid-certified facilities.
A Medicaid-certified nursing home must continue to provide care for a resident whose personal funds have been spent while residing there. A nursing home that does not participate in the Medicaid program can discharge the resident. Some nursing homes try to avoid admitting residents who are currently or will soon become Medicaid recipients as they can charge private paying residents a higher fee than they would receive under the Medicaid program.
If the older person will be relying on Medicaid from the beginning, find out if the nursing homes you are considering accept Medicaid residents. To learn more about eligibility for Medicaid in your state, gather information from such reliable sources as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and your county Family and Child Services Department.
Your goals are to:
Planning For Moving Day
If youre stressed about moving day, plan ahead and consider finding expert assistance to help with this major transition. A senior move manager specializes in helping seniors downsize, relocate, and move. Delegating what can be an emotional task may help reduce tension, prevent family conflicts, and ease the burden on families and caregivers.
Before deciding what to take when moving your family member to a nursing home facility, its important to understand the space your loved one will have after they move. Whether they share a room or have a private space, they might want to bring some personal items, such as toiletries, clothing, photos and keepsakes, jewelry, and eyeglasses. They may also want to bring certain items for entertainment, like books, hobby supplies, and a computer or tablet.
Before moving day, also be sure to ask staff at the facility whether:
- Bedding and towels are provided.
- A TV is available in the room.
- Its possible to bring a small fridge.
- Laundry services are included.
- Internet access is available for residents.
Make your loved ones new space feel more like home with familiar items and photos of family and friends before they arrive. Arrange their belongings in a way that reminds them of their previous home, but avoid cluttering the room. Instead, try to create a calming, comfortable space for your loved one.
Before moving day, remember to also:
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How To Choose A Nursing Home
A nursing home, also known as a skilled nursing facility, provides a wide range of health and personal care services.
These services typically include nursing care, 24-hour supervision, three meals a day, and assistance with everyday activities. Rehabilitation services, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy, are also available.
Some people stay at a nursing home for a short time after being in the hospital. After they recover, they go home. However, most nursing home residents live there permanently because they have ongoing physical or mental conditions that require constant care and supervision.
If you need to go to a nursing home after a hospital stay, the hospital staff can help you find one that will provide the kind of care that’s best for you. If you are looking for a nursing home, ask your doctor’s office for recommendations. Once you know what choices you have, it’s a good idea to:
Consider what you want. What is important to younursing care, meals, physical therapy, a religious connection, hospice care, or special care units for dementia patients? Do you want a place close to family and friends so they can easily visit?
Talk to friends and family. Talk with friends, relatives, social workers, and religious groups to find out what places they suggest. Check with healthcare providers about which nursing homes they feel provide good care.
- Medicare and Medicaid certification
- Residents who look well cared for
- Warm interaction between staff and residents
Happy Clients Real Testimonials
We want to thank Choice Connections for all the information and help they provided in finding Skilled Nursing and Nursing Home facilities for a friend of our family. The help was invaluable. They provided a list of care facilities, answered all our questions, and helped us navigate the uncharted waters of health care. Our local advisor made an extremely stressful emergency health situation manageable for the family. We very much appreciate the professionalism, expertise and the time they spent helping make the transition go smoothly.
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Can I Be Kicked Out Of My Assisted Living Community Or Nursing Home If I Cant Pay
Once you find an assisted living community or nursing home you can afford in the present, it is important to ensure you can afford to stay there in the future if your resources run out. Always ask to see the care companys policy in writing, so you know what will happen if your money runs out. In most cases, the bottom line is that yes, the care home can evict a resident who can no longer afford to pay.
The requirements to kick a resident out for failure to pay vary from state to state. Generally, assisted living and nursing homes must notify you and your family at least 30 days before discharge, and also create a report summarizing your current mental and physical health status and your post-discharge plan of care.
Financial Assistance For Nursing Home Care For Person With Dementia
There are very few, if any, financial assistance programs designed for nursing home care for persons with dementia. Instead, most assistance programs are designed to help individuals avoid nursing home placement. However, it is worth discussing the benefits of the following 3 programs as these programs pay for the vast majority of nursing home costs for persons with dementia.
Medicares nursing home benefits for persons with dementia are limited at best. Here we offer a fuller explanation of Medicares benefits for persons with dementia. With regards to nursing home care specifically, Medicares benefits are limited to 100 days, they are not intended for the long term or ongoing care. For those 100 days, Medicare pays part of the cost. From day 1 to day 20, there is coverage with zero copay. From day 21 to 100, there is a copay of $194.50 per day . For those requiring nursing home care, Medicares benefit is really just to offer a window of opportunity to apply for Medicaid which can cover nursing home care for the long term.
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How Long Do People Stay In Nursing Homes
Nursing home stays vary significantly, depending on your needs and reason for becoming a resident. For example, a quarter of all nursing home residents only stay for three months or less. These short-stay residents are usually individuals who need hospice care or rehabilitation following a surgery or hospital stay.
Other residents stay longer. About 50 percent of nursing home residents remain for at least one year, and 21 percent stay for about five years. Seniors who need to stay longer might face a long recovery or simply need ongoing supervision and support.
Find Nursing Homes Near Me
Nursing homes, also called skilled nursing facilities or convalescent homes, serve anyone who requires preventive, therapeutic and/or rehabilitative nursing care. Nursing homes provide residential care for people who dont require hospitalization but need 24-hour care they cant get at home. Some nursing homes are set up like a hospital with staff members providing medical care. Nursing homes also provide a wide range of other services.
Some residents also receive help with activities of daily living or participate in physical, speech and/or occupational therapy. Most nursing homes provide two distinct levels of care: one for short-term residents and the other for long-term care.
Short-term nursing home care serves patients requiring care following surgery or an acute illness or injury. These residents stay on a temporary basis while they recover from an injury or convalesce following hospitalization. Once theyve recuperated and met their doctor-ordered health and wellness goals, they transition back to their own homes. This group typically makes up a small percentage of most nursing home residents and may include people of all ages.
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What Kind Of Long
Some homes specialize in personal care while others specialize in health or nursing care. Others care for residents with all kinds of needs, from help with eating to post-hospital medical care. Since a facility’s name tells you little about the services offered, you should make a personal visit and talk to the administrator.
The administrator may use phrases like “skilled nursing facility” or “intermediate care facility.” These terms were created as a result of two government programs â Medicaid and Medicare â that pay bills for a majority of the residents of long-term care facilities. Medicaid pays bills for some low-income people, while Medicare helps pay some bills for eligible persons over the age of 65. These programs classify homes according to the kinds of services offered.
An intermediate care facility is for people who need health services and some nursing supervision in addition to help with eating, dressing, walking or other personal needs. Medicaid may pay for intermediate care but Medicare never does.
A skilled nursing facility is staffed to make round-the-clock nursing services available to residents who require them. In Illinois, the Medicaid program pays for care in a skilled nursing facility if a person’s physician says such care is needed and his or her decision is approved by the program.
How To Get Into Assisted Living With No Money
If you do not have the monthly income to pay for an assisted living residence, you may be surprised to find you can draw money from other sources however, Medicare is not one of them. Long-term care insurance will pay for assisted living, but you may have to jump through some hoops to receive your benefits. Many long-term care insurance companies automatically deny request for payment the first time. To get the insurance company to pay, you may need a doctors note describing your physical limitations that require help in at least two areas of activities of daily living. To speed along the process, ask a representative from the assisted living home to act as an advocate on your behalf.
Life insurance is another resource you may already have that can cover the costs of assisted living. There are many ways life insurance can help pay. If you want your life insurance to remain in place but are comfortable having less to leave to your beneficiaries, pull money out from the built-up cash value. If you are ready to cash out completely, expect to pay income tax on the full amount. Some policies do not allow cashing out before death. In this case, you may consider selling the policy to a third-party company in order to receive 50 to 75 percent of the original policys value. A final option is life insurance conversion, which converts a life insurance policy to a long-term care payment plan the downside to this option is that your policy value will be significantly reduced.
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Nursing Home Consumer Information
Find information and resources about nursing home care in Massachusetts.
Nursing homes provide an invaluable service to those needing long-term care. Find more information about the available resources, including understanding your long term care options, how to find information about individual nursing homes, and your rights as a resident living in a long-term care facility.
When Does A Person Need A Long
When a person needs help with dressing, shopping, meal preparation and personal chores â and when these needs cannot be met by family or community services â a long-term care facility could be the best choice. When a person needs medical attention that the family cannot afford to provide at home, or when keeping the individual at home may severely upset family life, long-term care could be needed. Other care needs also may make it necessary to make this choice.
First, talk the situation over with other family members, including the person needing the care. Consult your physician. If you are faced with having to move someone from a hospital to a long-term facility, talk to the hospital’s social worker.
Always consider the individual’s needs and preferences. After all, it is his or her lifestyle that will change. Everyone, regardless of age or degree of health, has a right to influence his or her own life.
Consider family needs. Often, after reviewing all possibilities, it is determined that institutional care is the best alternative. No one needs to feel guilty about moving a loved one into a long-term care facility, especially if all alternatives and consequences have been carefully weighed and if the long-term care facility is chosen with care.