Personal care homes differ from nursing facilities. Personal care homes are also known as assisted living homes. They are staffed to provide assistance to residents for everything from toileting to administering medications and providing specialist dementia care. These homes are designed for residents who still can do a little for themselves but need assistance in task completion. Nursing facilities have residents who vary in abilities. However, a nursing home offers full support for residents. Nursing homes, as the name indicates, have nursing staff on site around the clock. Care homes usually only have visiting nurses.
How to Decide if Assisted Living or Nursing Care is Best
Doctors usually make the determination if nursing home care is needed. In order for health insurance or state and federal assistance programs to cover nursing care, it must be deemed medically necessary. Assisted living care homes have different requirements. Coverage under health plans vary greatly. Assisted living may be covered under a supplemental plan or on a sliding scale based on income and assets.
Assisted living is easier for a semi-independent elderly person to adjust to. There comes a time when it is no longer safe to live at home alone, yet there is no need for the level of care a nursing home provides. A personal care home encourages independence and provides assistance where needed. Nursing facilities usually look much more institutional, reminding people of hospitals. Care homes are mostly private homes built or adapted to support a small number of residents in a much more homelike environment.
Choosing The Care Home
Each state has its own licensing requirements for personal care homes. Even though the requirements for licensing are the same for every personal care home in a state, there still can be quite a difference in the services and the quality of services of each home. What is affordable to the resident is often a deciding factor. However, a little personal investigation by a trusted family member or friend can often find several personal care home options that cost the same yet are quite different.
It is important to personally visit a home several times and at different times. Check in at least once on each shift. Pay close attention to the subtleties of how staff interact with the residents. Use your senses. Taste the food. Look to see how clean the place is kept. Are incontinent residents changed often? If not, there will be a lingering odor on each visit.
If the place does not feel right, take a step back and maybe come back at another time. First impressions of care homes are not always accurate. There are hectic days when residents can be ill and staff may be trying to catch up. However, if issues seem to never be resolved, then look elsewhere. It is important for the safety and well-being of your loved one.