A nursing home’s purpose is in its a name: a home for nursing. Also called a long-term care facility, a nursing home is a residential facility for people, often but not necessarily seniors, who have chronic illnesses, disabilities, or mobility or eating problems. A nursing home is appropriate for someone who needs regular medical care.
Nursing homes must be licensed, and are governed by state and federal laws. New residents must be
thoroughly assessed soon after admission to determine their medical needs, range of mobility, nutritional state, rehabilitation needs, skin condition, and ability to perform daily tasks such as bathing, changing clothing, and using the toilet. The assessment helps shape the resident’s care plan.
Whenever possible, decisions are made by residents. If they cannot make decisions for themselves, then a durable power of attorney for health care must be in place to give this authority to someone else.
Nursing homes are an excellent option for people who require nursing care for an extended period but do not require hospitalization. This includes people who too ill to stay in their own homes, with families, or in long-term facilities with less structure. Generally, they cannot live independently and need help with activities of daily living. Some facilities, but not all, offer specialized care for Alzheimer’s disease and other medical conditions that require a higher level of care.
While most residents need assistance with daily activities including personal care and meals, nursing homes try to provide the highest possible quality of life. When evaluating a nursing home, ask about programs and activities, including performances, exercise, and interactive events, that are designed to keep residents happy and engaged.