Senior Housing Options: Nursing Homes

Jackie Bedard
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A nursing home is a facility for chronically ill residents who need care 24 hours a day and need more assistance than can be provided at home or in an assisted living facility. Most nursing home care is custodial in nature, but skilled nursing and medical care are also provided. Because of the intensive nature of the care provided, a nursing home is the most expensive type of senior housing. Nursing home costs can be paid in a number of ways: (a) private pay; (b) long-term care insurance; (c) Medicare (limited); and (d) Medicaid.

Nursing homes are regulated at both the federal and state levels. In 1987, Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act which mandates that nursing homes “must provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psycho-social well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care.”

This law and its regulations require that nursing homes:

•          Have sufficient nursing staff;

•          Upon admission, conduct a comprehensive assessment of each resident’s functional capacity;

•          Develop an individualized, comprehensive written plan of care for each resident;

•          Promote each resident’s quality of life and maintain the dignity of each resident; and

•          Maintain accurate, complete, and easily accessible clinical records on each resident.

A nursing home has become the senior living option of last resort. It is noteworthy that, while the number of elderly Americans has increased over the last decade, the number of nursing home residents has not. Furthermore, the average age of nursing home residents (and therefore their care needs) are increasing. It would appear that other types of residential care are allowing the elderly to put off a nursing home admission until their health deteriorates to a point where there is no other alternative.

Additional Information on North Carolina Medicaid Assistance for Nursing Home Care:

Download a free copy of Jackie Bedard’s book, The Ultimate Guide to Paying for Nursing Home Care in North Carolina, to learn the nursing home and Medicaid secrets you need to know to avoid going broke in a nursing home and leaving your family penniless.