It’s likely that at some point either we or someone we know will require the services of a skilled nursing facility. Often, patients are elderly, disabled or terminally ill. But anyone who needs 24-hour care can take advantage of what they have to offer. Statistically, women are three times as likely to be in a nursing home as are men.
There are over 16,000 nursing care homes in the United States, with about a million and a half residents. And about 26% of skilled nursing facilities function on a non-profit basis.
Of course, now that the baby boomer generation is reaching its sixties, the number of people requiring a skilled nursing facility will grow. For some, it becomes a long term care facility, but the average resident has been there for about 835 days.
There have been other names for a skilled nursing facility over the years: convalescence homes, elderly homes, senior homes and more. In 2002, the commonly-used term “nursing homes” was changed to care homes.
A comprehensive skilled nursing facility will offer a wide range of health services. There are likely to be nurses who specialize in elderly care, because of the fact that the average age of admission is 79 and Alzheimer’s disease is a common reason. In fact, about 42% of nursing facility patients suffer from dementia to some degree.
It pays to do research when trying to find a suitable high-quality facility for a loved one. Costs vary, but sometimes Medicare will help. And veterans can often take advantage of financial assistance available to them.
Admitting someone to a nursing facility can be a stressful experience for all concerned, so be sure to review all the pros and cons before making a decision. And consider how much or how little independence the prospective resident wants and is able to maintain and whether that desire will be honored by the staff.