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What are Nursing Homes?

Nursing homes, also called skilled nursing facilities, are for seniors who require 24-hour monitoring and medical assistance. Nursing home patients typically suffer from severe or debilitating physical or mental illnesses, so they are unable to care for themselves. Today's nursing homes offer engaging resident activities, skilled medical attention-such as physical therapists and licensed physicians-as well as gourmet dining services.

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  • Nursing Home Checklist - This checklist will help you be prepared when making the move to a nursing home, including required forms, financial information and medical tests.

Nursing Homes: Skilled Nursing Facilities for Seniors

Unlike assisted living facilities, which offer patients assistance with some or all basic living activities such as bathing, eating, dressing, cooking and housekeeping, nursing homes provide intensive, long-term medical care to seniors with serious health conditions in a fully staffed and monitored facility.

Cost of Nursing Homes

Nursing home cost is dependent on whether your stay is short-term or long-term. Short-term stay is generally for those who have been hospitalized due to injury or illness and require supervised care while recovering. Fortunately, most short-term care is covered by Medicare for those eligible to receive benefits. Long-term stay cost is affected by the following factors:

  • Size of room
  • Whether a room is private or semi-private
  • Geographical location of the community

According to, in 2012, the national median cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home in the U.S. was $200 a day. And the cost of a private room was $222 a day. 

Services Offered in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes offer 24-hour supervised care with meals, activities and health management and support for residents. Communities usually have a licensed physician or nurse on the premises and often have physical and occupational therapists to cater to their residents' needs.

Here are some of the basic services offered in nursing homes:

  • Comfortable private, or semi-private, rooms
  • Three daily cooked meals
  • Housekeeping and laundry service
  • Speech therapy, pain/medication management and hospice care
  • Exercise and physical therapy programs
  • Social programs and activities
  • 24-hour staffing and personal assistance

Many nursing homes are also stocked with medical equipment, such as X-ray machines, electronic beds and pharmacies to cater to their patients' needs. Some facilities also provide Alzheimer's care, with special facilities and layouts for those who suffer from dementia.

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