Nursing homes these days are full of residents–so many that more than half of all nursing homes don’t have enough staff to care for them, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. When it comes to selecting a nursing home, it’s important for everyone involved—both the staff, residents and their families—to understand what kinds of skilled medical care and support services are to be provided. A clear level of expectation about the level of skilled care, and selection of a good quality environment can also help reduce the instance of nursing home malpractice allegations.
A nursing home provides the greatest level of care for senior citizens outside a regular hospital, providing round the clock care by skilled medical staff and other support personnel who offer constant supervision, make meals, and manage daily activities for the residents. Those who live there typically need to be monitored constantly due to a myriad of health conditions, so they cannot live alone. These residents likely need some assistance with bathing and using the restroom, dressing and other forms of self-care; they may not need to be in a doctor’s care 24 hours a day, but they do need fast access to that care and assistance with other types of medical support such as physical therapy or taking medications. In some cases, a nursing home may be tailored to fit the special needs of residents suffering from specific ailments such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Somewhere between sick and well: when it’s time for a nursing home
Many residents’ first foray into a nursing home follows a stay at a hospital when they are no longer ill enough to remain at the hospital but are not yet strong enough to return home, or need a follow-on level of medical care that does not need to be administered in a hospital environment. Nursing homes serve as a bridge between hospital and home, with a more home-like atmosphere while delivering the medical services that are needed. Visiting hours are less stringent, residents take meals in a dining room that may resemble a casual family-style restaurant, and activities are scheduled throughout the day (everything from bingo to yoga, puzzles, movies, salon services, games, religious services, and more) to give residents an opportunity to have fun and relax doing some things they enjoy. All of this takes place in an environment staffed by professional medical staff, so medical intervention is available ‘round the clock.
Nursing homes can…