Long Term Care Decisions
you know that someone you love, an ill or aging parent, perhaps, has to go
into a nursing home, you will be looking for one that both you and the
patient will be comfortable with.
You can arrange to visit nursing homes, to see what kind of care is being
given to the patients, how clean it is, and how patients fare on a
day-to-day basis. You can talk to people that have been in them, or have
loved ones in them.
Putting a parent or loved one into a nursing home brings a whole set of
anxieties along with it.
Who decides where they go? Who decides it's time? Everybody
involved--children, parents, caregivers, patients--should discuss the
options. Try to arrive at a consensus among you to avoid hard feelings that
can arise if a parent, for instance, is reluctant to go into a home, or if a
caregiver feels unable to continue, or feels guilty about putting someone
in. By examining your options you should feel better about your decision and
make you feel that you've explored all the long-term care avenues open to
Alternatives to Nursing Homes
There are other places besides nursing homes where you or a loved one can
get the necessary care; home health care, assisted care, and adult day care
are also options.
The hospice movement, also, has grown over the past two decades in the
United States, as patients who are terminally ill are choosing more and more
to die at home rather than in the hospital, where the environment can be
sterile and unfeeling. More and more hospitals are providing hospice
services, home health care, and adult day-care as a part of their long-term
care options. If you want to know if your hospital, or one in your area,
offers any of these services, ask.
Economics of Nursing Homes
Unfortunately, there are lots of financial issues at stake when deciding to
put someone in a nursing home.
It costs a lot of money to maintain an elderly person in poor health for an
indefinite period of time. Medicare will only pay for nursing home care if
the patient goes in after being hospitalized; even then, the benefits are
limited. When they run out, and the patient's finances are depleted,
Medicaid will pick up the costs, but certain nursing homes limit the number
of Medicaid patients it will take in. They prefer to take "private-pay"
patients. Be sure to find out whether the nursing home of your choice has
beds for both Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Nursing Homes Close To Home
Where are the best nursing homes near you?
It is sometimes easier to put someone who needs care into a nursing home if
the home is close to you. If you or a loved one is considering long- or
short-term nursing home care, find out which homes are in your area. Are you
planning to retire to a warm state in the Sun Belt? to Florida? Check those
states to see what's available.
Not for Good and Not Just for Old People
Nursing homes are not just for old people--they often admit younger patients
who are recovering from accidents, or need other short-term care.
The mentally challenged can also find themselves in nursing homes for short-
or long-term care. When looking for a particular nursing home, check to see
which homes near you have short-term beds for the ill, the mentally
impaired, and younger patients, depending on your needs.
Care for the Caregiver
Respite care is an important service offered by several nursing homes.
Are you taking care of a family member who is mentally challenged? Needs
full-time care? And do you need a break? Take advantage of the "respite"
care offered at nursing homes near you.