Choosing A Nursing Home Facility
Types of Nursing Home Facilities
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 70 percent of people older than age 65 will require some type of long-term care services during their lifetime.
There are a variety of living facility options for the elderly, and the process of placing or relocating your loved one can be overwhelming. It’s important to know what options are available for your family member. Each type of facility has different benefits and levels of care, and the quality of individual facilities can vary.
The most common categories of healthcare facilities include:
- Adult Day Care
Adult day care is an alternative to live-in care for adults who are functionally impaired. These programs run during the day—much like child day care—and provide a variety of health, wellness, social, and other support-related services.
- Alzheimer’s Care (Memory Care)
Alzheimer’s care—or memory care—provides specialized services to meet the needs of individuals with dementia, brain injury, or Alzheimer’s disease. These services may be provided at an assisted living, skilled nursing, or residential community.
- Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living facilities promote independence in a private residence setting. These facilities are designed for people who are generally well but may need some help with everyday tasks. Residents typically have individual rooms with locks for privacy—unless shared by choice—and private bathrooms. Personal care services are available 24/7 and offer assistance with meals, bathing, dressing, or medication, if needed. In addition, transportation and social activities may be available. Not all facilities offer all services, so ask for a list of services in writing.
- Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)
CCRCs offer multiple levels of care including independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care—all housed in different areas of the same campus. As the personal and medical needs of residents change, residents have the opportunity to move to a different care facility while remaining in the same community. This way, social connections can remain in place and your loved one doesn’t have to be uprooted.CCRCs may provide residential services, including:
- health care,
- laundry services,
- nursing care,
- personal care,
- and social and recreational services.
- Hospice Care
Hospice care provides assistance to terminally ill individuals and includes health services, volunteer support, grief counseling, and pain management. These services can be provided in a person’s home, a hospital, or in a long-term care facility.
- Independent Living Communities
Independent living communities typically provide meals in a restaurant setting, housekeeping, transportation and various social activities. While there may be wellness programs, care services may or may not be available for an additional charge. These communities are often part of a CCRC.
- Long-Term Care
Long-term care describes any service designed to help those with chronic illness, disability, dementia, or other conditions that require continuous care. Long-term care services can be provided in an individual’s home or in a residential facility.
- Nursing Homes
A nursing home is a facility licensed by the state to offer 24-hour, skilled nursing care and personal assistance for those who require constant supervision. These homes provide nursing care, personal care, room and board, supervision, medication, therapies, and rehabilitation. Rooms are often shared, and communal dining is common. Some nursing homes have special care units for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other serious memory disorders.
- Rest Homes
These residential facilities offer 24-hour supervision and supportive services to residents who don’t need on-going medical or nursing care. Rest homes provide housing, meals, activities, and medication administration.
- Skilled Nursing Facilities
Skilled nursing facilities are Medicare-certified nursing homes that provide 24-hour nursing care and rehabilitation services, in addition to other services. Many of these communities offer short-term, comprehensive rehabilitation programs on an inpatient and outpatient basis.
Checklist for Finding Good Nursing Homes
When you’ve made the decision to move a loved one to a nursing home, it’s important to use every resource available to find the best fit for your family member. The North Carolina nursing home abuse lawyers at Henson Fuerst recommend doing the following.
- Personal research.
Talk with friends and family members who have loved ones in nursing home facilities. Ask questions and research nursing home facilities online to figure out what quality long-term care facilities are available in your area.
- Visit the facilities.
Visit all of the facilities you are considering. Walk through the halls, talk with residents, chat with family members, and pay attention to every detail. Ask yourself questions, such as:
- Does it smell clean?
- Does it feel like a quiet and relaxing environment?
- Does the food taste good and seem nutritious?
- Do you see residents engaged in activities, or are they all confined to their rooms?
- How do the caregivers sound when they are talking with the residents—compassionate or harsh?
- Is it a place you would choose for yourself if you could no longer live on your own?
- Ask about staff.
Find out if the nursing home has any registered nurses (RNs) on staff. While it’s not required by law, our North Carolina nursing home abuse attorneys from HensonFuerst recommend that facilities have at least one RN on staff at all times. RNs can assess a patient’s medical status, which can be crucial if a resident develops a dangerous medical condition that requires more advanced care.
- Consult your local ombudsman.
Ombudsmen are liaisons between the state government and long-term care facilities who investigate complaints and serve as advocates for long-term care residents. While they do not have any formal powers over nursing facilities, they do serve as excellent information resources.
- Contact your local Department of Social Services.
The Department of Social Services is in charge of inspecting nursing home facilities on a quarterly basis. These investigations often provide insight into the quality of a facility and expose facilities that have been cited for deficiencies.
If you have any questions about choosing a nursing home facility for your loved one, call the experienced North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse attorneys Henson Fuerst anytime at (919) 781-1107. We will speak with you for free and help you make the best decision to protect the safety and dignity of your elderly family member.