Chapter 11: Skilled Nursing Homes

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For a reasonably healthy senior, a nursing home still is probably not the right choice. But for the senior who truly needs skilled medical care and intense supervision, it may be exactly the best place to live. So nursing homes continue to have a very important place on the spectrum of care for the elderly.

The federal and state governments make an effort to uphold standards through inspections of nursing homes, monitoring such things as the nutrition and medication of residents as well as their treatment by the staff. The industry still has problems, however. Despite the great improvement in nursing homes overall, 17 percent of nursing homes surveyed in 2007 were cited for dangerous deficiencies in practices or facilities which had caused actual harm or placed residents in immediate jeopardy.

No matter how pleasant the surroundings and how good the care, a nursing home, nonetheless, is a place that very few seniors look forward to going to, and for understandable reasons. But once admitted, many nursing home residents will live out the rest of the lives there.

Around-the-Clock Care

Why then does a senior enter a nursing home? The senior for whom a nursing home is an option is generally quite sick, his or her mental awareness sharply limited. Incontinence and dementia are among the major reasons people are admitted to nursing homes.

This chapter explores methods for finding the appropriate home and how to pay for the care.

By finding the best nursing home, visiting your mother often, and encouraging other family and friends to do the same, you will be doing your best to make her final months as rich and comfortable as you can.

In the next chapter, we will talk about hospice care, which is by and large a more tranquil experience for both the failing senior and the family.

Review additional chapters of Stages of Senior Care:

Previous: Chapter 10: Assisted Living  
Next: Chapter 12: Hospice Care