How to Choose a Good Nursing Home, Part 2

Step-by-step checklists for choosing a nursing home may be found at the following Web sites:

Health Care Financing Administration:
Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home
American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging:
Finding the Right Nursing Home
Benjamin Rose Institute:
Checklist for Choosing a Nursing Home
NOTE: Any links to external sites will open in a new browser window. External sites are not part of drkoop.com, and drkoop.com has no control over their content or availability.

Mental Health Services
An important concern is whether the nursing home has access to quality mental healthcare. Many nursing home residents need help due to mental disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, and many facilities do not provide that service.

“Our society is experiencing unprecedented growth in the elderly population, and in the number of people who require nursing home care. We are witnessing an epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease, and we anticipate a substantial rise in other mental disorders associated with late life as the baby boom generation ages,” Reichman said.

How Much Will All This Cost?
Costs vary by state. You may contact your state department of health for a more accurate number, but it could be $150 to $200 per day out-of-pocket, according to Noelker. Senior care may be funded through many sources. Two of the most common are Medicaid and Medicare.

Medicaid is a federal and state funded program that provides health insurance to eligible, low-income individuals. Medicaid will only pay for nursing home care provided in Medicaid-certified facilities. Services may include: inpatient and outpatient hospital services, physician services, nursing facilities and services for people 21 or older, medical and surgical services, and laboratory and X-ray services.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 and older and certain disabled individuals regardless of income. Medicare inpatient services may include: skilled nursing facility, hospital care, home health agency care and hospice care. According to Reichman, Medicare covers nursing home care when it follows acute hospitalization, and then for just a certain length of time.

The Most Important Issues to Consider
“Choose a nursing home that promotes the well-being of the resident, one where residents are kept busy, and the quality of medical and nursing service are adequate,” Reichman said.

“Our tendencies are to think of well-trained doctors or nurses, but the kind of care provided by the day-to-day staff (for example, nurses’ aides, kitchen staff, housekeepers, etc.) is sometimes overlooked by families of the nursing care resident.”

For example, when Reichman had to choose a nursing home for his own grandmother, he was naturally obsessive about his research. While visiting one facility and talking with the director, he noticed a lady pushing a walker down the hall. “She got into trouble maneuvering the walker and was in a jam against the wall. A male staff member, who was buffing the floors, saw the lady, put down the buffer, addressed her by name, helped her back to her room and then went back to his job. That was the nursing home I chose.”

May 18th, 2012 - Posted in Medicines | | Comments Off

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