Unlike group home care or assisted living facilities, which provide patients with assistance for some or all basic living activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, housekeeping and cooking, nursing homes provide comprehensive, long-term medical care to seniors with acute health conditions in a completely staffed and monitored facility.
What is a nursing home?
Nursing homes, also referred to as skilled nursing facilities, are for seniors who do not need to be in a hospital but can’t be cared for at home and require 24-hour monitoring and medical assistance. Nursing home patients generally suffer from critical or debilitating physical or mental illnesses and are unable to care for themselves. Today's nursing homes offer skilled medical care, physical, occupational and speech therapy, resident activities and dining services.
A nursing home typically delivers the highest level of care for seniors outside of a hospital setting. Nursing homes provide what is referred to as custodial care, including bathing, dressing, feeding and help with mobility issues.
Although nursing homes fall within the senior care realm, they differ from other elderly housing facilities, such as assisted living and residential care homes, in that they provide a higher level of medical care.
Because of the level of medical care that is needed, a physician supervises each patient and a nurse or other licensed medical staff is always onsite. Skilled nursing care is also typically available 24-hours a day along with other medical professionals, such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathology services, audiology services, dental services and pharmacy services.
How much do nursing homes cost?
Nursing home rates depend on whether your stay is temporary or long-term. A temporary stay is generally reserved for those who have been hospitalized due to illness or injury and require 24-hour supervised care while convalescing.
Long-term stay rates are dependent on the following factors:
- Size and location of the room
- Private or semi-private room
- The community’s geographical location
According to statistics from Genworth.com, in 2015, the national monthly cost averaged from $6,692 for a semi-private room to $7,604 for a private room. Depending on the state, costs differ based on various factors. Costs are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private funding.
Nursing homes provide 24-hour supervised care with mental and health management, activities, meals and support for residents. These convalescent care facilities generally have a physician or nurse onsite at all times and often have therapists and a social worker to accommodate their residents' needs.
Standard services offered at nursing homes include:
- Private and semi-private rooms
- Three cooked meals a day
- Housekeeping and laundry service
- Rehabilitative therapy, pain management and hospice care
- Exercise, social and physical activity programs
- 24-hour medical staff, therapists and an ombudsman
Many long-term care facilities have medical equipment, electronic beds and pharmacies onsite to accommodate their patients' needs. Some nursing homes also provide specialized care for patients that suffer from dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease.