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It’s not something most people want to think about, but approximately 70 percent of Americans will need some type of long-term care after age 65. There are many different kinds and levels of care available.
Nursing homes, also known as Skilled Nursing Care centers, are a common choice for people who need a higher level of care. Nursing homes offer 24-hour staffing with comprehensive care services including care by a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN).
These facilities most often act as permanent places to live for people who are too sick or weak to live at home. In some cases, nursing homes can also act as a transition from a hospital stay to home during a recovery period following a serious illness or accident.
Because nursing homes typically become a permanent home, it is important to compare nursing homes to find the best fit for yourself or your loved one.
Consider these points before selecting a nursing home:
• Licensing - Laws governing the licensing of nursing homes vary by state. Check with the appropriate agencies to find out what the law in your state requires. Then check with each facility you are considering to make sure it is licensed and has a solid history of success with state-required inspections.
• Location – Think about how close the facility is to family and friends who can visit and help with medical and other decisions if needed.
• Medical Care - Find out how many doctors are affiliated with the facility and how care is provided. Some facilities provided one-to-one care from a personal, attending physician. Others have a medical director who oversees care for many residents.
• Additional Staffing – Consider how many nurses and other caregivers are on staff and how many are on-site at any given time. Also ask about available care in case of stroke, surgery, or heart issues.
Some facilities offer various types of therapy including speech, respiratory, physical, or occupational therapy.