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What is a Nursing Home? Services, Cost & Options

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What is a nursing home?

Nursing homes, also called skilled nursing facilities, provide 24-hour nursing and personal care for seniors. Nursing homes offer the highest level of care for seniors who need long-term or short-term medical care but don’t need hospitalization. Elderly adults who need long-term care at a nursing home often have severe physical or cognitive health conditions that require 24-hour nursing care. They may be incontinent, unable to eat independently, or unable to transfer from bed to a wheelchair without the assistance of a staff member.

 

Nursing homes play a crucial role in post-hospitalization care. They offer short-term rehabilitation for seniors recovering from illnesses, accidents or surgery. Rehab care focuses on restoring mobility, strength, and function so seniors can get back to their normal activities.

 

Nursing homes provide a distinctly higher level of medical care than other types of senior living, such as independent living, assisted living, and memory care. Nursing homes can also be called “care homes,” “skilled rehab facilities,” or “long-term care facilities.”

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Nursing home services

Nursing homes offer specialized medical care and employ nurses and onsite physicians. Nursing homes are equipped to handle wound care, feeding tubes, catheters, IV therapy, dialysis, injections, and heart rate and blood pressure monitoring. They may also offer physical, occupational, speech, orthopedic, and psychological therapy. Nursing homes also offer care coordination and transportation to medical appointments. Assisted living or memory care residents may move into a nursing home when they’ve become bed-bound or have medical needs that their senior living facility is not meant to handle.

Who needs a nursing home?

Elderly nursing home residents often have significant physical or mental health conditions that require long-term, 24-hour nursing and personal care. Seniors who can no longer lift themselves out of bed or who require daily skilled nursing are often ineligible for assisted living or memory care and may need nursing home care.

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Nursing Home Requirements for Seniors

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Average Age of Nursing Home Residents: Age by Percentage and Demographic

Explore how age breaks down among nursing home residents in the U.S. along with gender, health conditions, and more.

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When Is It Time for a Nursing Home? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself

These six questions will help you decide if it’s time for your loved one to move to a nursing home.

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Nursing Home Statistics

Learn the number of nursing home residents and facilities in the U.S. broken down by state. Plus, trends among nursing h...

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Alternatives to nursing homes

Many seniors are a better fit for assisted living or memory care. Consider these options before deciding on a nursing home.

Both nursing homes and assisted living facilities offer senior housing, meal services, and help with personal care. However, seniors in assisted living communities are generally active and relatively independent, although they may need help with certain daily tasks. Nursing home residents typically have debilitating health problems that require 24-hour care and skilled nursing services. Because assisted living facilities don’t offer medical care, they are cheaper than nursing homes.

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Alternatives to Nursing Homes: Your Options, Explained

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Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes: Costs, Amenities, and How to Choose

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Finding a nursing home

Finding a nursing home for your loved one may feel overwhelming. You may have many different facilities to choose from, so how do you know which one is right? Start with your family member’s prioritized needs and consider the facility’s medical services and ratings.

 

Ultimately, there’s no substitute for visiting and experiencing a typical day at the nursing home. As you tour different facilities, be sure to ask whether the nursing home you’re visiting is Medicare or Medicaid certified and licensed if you plan on using your benefits to help cover your care costs there. You can also check the facility’s rating on the Medicare website.

 

Use these resources to discover what to look for when searching for a nursing home and how to find the best nursing homes near you.

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A Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home

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Medicare Nursing Home Ratings: A Brief Guide

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Nursing homes costs and payment

Nursing homes are more expensive than assisted living or memory care because they require medically trained staff and more supervision. Nursing homes may cost twice as much as assisted living or memory care facilities in your area.

 

Paying for a nursing home is not always straightforward, and families can use multiple sources to cover nursing home costs. Often, some nursing home care can be covered with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or veterans benefits. Short-term stays in skilled nursing facilities for rehabilitation may be covered by Medicare, while indefinite stays in a nursing home will require some out-of-pocket payment for rent and meals. Learning how to pay for nursing home care now can help you plan for your future needs.

How Much Do Nursing Homes Cost? A State-By-State Guide

The cost of nursing homes varies from state to state and depends on a number of factors. Learn more about how much nursing ho...

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How to Pay For a Nursing Home: Know Your Options

A nursing home may be a good fit for seniors who need a high level of care. Learn about the ways to pay for nursing home care...

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How to Pay for Nursing Home Care With Social Security

Social Security can cover some nursing home costs. Understand the types of benefits, how to pay with benefits, and other opti...

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Are Nursing Home Expenses Tax Deductible?

Learn how you can deduct expenses related to nursing home care on your taxes. Get tips for tracking expenses and utilizing th...

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Does Medicare Cover Nursing Homes?

Does Medicare cover nursing home expenses? Depending on your loved one's care needs and the length of their stay, some or all...

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Paying for Hospice in a Nursing Home: Your Options, Explained

Learn about the many pay options available for covering some or all of the costs of hospice care in a nursing home, and get t...

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A Place for Mom has the largest network of senior living communities and home care providers in the nation. We enable caregivers to make the best decisions for their loves ones.

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