My mother used to tell me that when she got old and couldn’t live at home anymore, she planned to go to a nursing home. She was adamant that she didn’t want to be a burden on my brother or me by needing to move in with one of us. I bought a house with an “in-law suite” just in case. As she grew older and visited more friends who lived in such places, her eyes were opened to new facets of nursing home residency. One day she called me and said, “I never want to live in a nursing home!”
Today nursing or convalescent homes are more appropriately called Skilled Nursing Facilities, or “SNF’s” (pronounced “sniff”). These facilities offer onsite 24/7 medical services, medication administration and management, and a range of therapies as well as social activities, personal care services, and meals. While the need for skilled nursing services should not dictate placement in a SNF (because in-home options are also available), sometimes a referral to a SNF is an appropriate option. SNF placement is generally reserved for those who need a significant amount of care or total care.
Private pay skilled care in a SNF is costly. Medicare Part A may cover a period of time in a SNF under certain circumstances. Click here to learn more about the details on what Medicare will cover. Medicaid SNF’s are also available, but if your loved one qualifies for Medicaid benefits and needs to be placed in a SNF, they may need to wait for a bed to open up or be placed in a facility many miles from where they currently reside because bed space is available in another location.
Most people don’t just decide to move into a SNF. Unlike most other residential care options, SNF’s usually offer semi-private rooms, meals, medications and skilled nursing services. A hospitalization precedes most admissions. If you have the luxury of choosing a SNF for your loved one, you need to visit and get a feel for the facility. Here’s a link to 10 tips for selecting a SNF.
If your loved one is in a SNF, Chris and I always recommend that you visit often and get to know the professional caregivers on staff there. Stay involved in your loved one’s life as much as possible. This involvement will ensure that you are still seen as a part of the care team, and your loved one will receive better care because of it. No one should ever aspire to move into a SNF, but these facilities do have an essential role in the aging care continuum. A SNF placement can be hugely beneficial to the care recipient and their family as well.
We hope you will join our conversation this week and share your heart about Skilled Nursing Facilities.
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