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Nursing Homes: Finding a Really Great One

Nursing Homes: What critical information should I know?

Nursing Home Staff That You Should Know

Evaluating the Nursing Home Facility

Understanding the Nursing Home Contract

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Nursing Homes: What critical information should I know?

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Nursing Homes: What critical information should I know? 

Nursing home overview:

nursing homes informationWhen a nursing home is needed you will most likely be too ill to make all of the relevant decisions on your own.  Knowing what to think about and look for now will help you to know the most critical information necessary to make a wise decision when the time comes for a nursing home.  You should talk with your family before-hand and let them know what your intentions and concerns are about being in a nursing home before the time even comes. 

Nursing homes are frequently referred to as long-term care facilities or skilled nursing
facilities.  Regardless of their name, all of these facilities provide nursing and medical care for patients in a residential environment. It is important to know that living in a nursing home is not the end of the world.  People frequently stay for either short or long periods of time for a multitude of reasons.  Individuals may stay in long-term care facilities for rehabilitation after hospitalizations or as permanent nursing home residents.  If you need this level of care, you will usually be notified by a social worker in the hospital, an assisted-living staff member, family member or doctor. 

Nursing home costs: 

Medicare we usually pay for nursing home stays for 30 days and a total of 100-day maximum after a three-day hospital stay.  Also, Medicare will only pay as long as the patient needs skilled nursing care.  If you qualify, Medicaid will pay for your residence after your Medicare coverage ends.  Nursing homes are not required to accept Medicare or Medicaid.  It is strictly up to their discretion as to the required payment sources necessary for you to remain.  Frequently nursing homes will have a limited number of Medicaid beds.  However, it is important to understand that if an individual enters a nursing home as a private pay patient and then becomes Medicaid eligible (by spending down to the required Medicaid level); the nursing home cannot make them leave and is required to accept their Medicaid payment. 

If a nursing home does not accept Medicaid, it will not be required to keep the resident once their private pay funds have been expended.  Also, an individual who enters a nursing home under Medicare or Medicaid cannot be required to pay a security or advance payment.  Also, nursing homes are required to have a bed hold policy in which Medicaid will pay for a set number of days while a patient is away at a hospital or another facility. 

It's important to understand that nursing homes are very expensive with an average cost per year of about $50,000 according to the AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons). If you have long-term care insurance or private insurance, some of the cost may be reimbursed through the insurance coverage.  You always need to make sure to read the policy closely and make sure that all of the nursing home costs are covered under your policy.  Many have percentages or caps that may apply to payment for your nursing home care. 

Some information from Seniorís Rights: Your Legal Guide to Living Life to the Fullest By Brette McWhorter Sember 

Additional Information By Paul Susic M.A. Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate (Geriatric Psychologist) 

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