Look­ing For A Nurs­ing Home?

Riverbank News - - PERSPECTIVE - Cate Kortze­born Cate Kortze­born is Medi­care’s act­ing re­gional ad­min­is­tra­tor for Ari­zona, Cal­i­for­nia, Hawaii, Ne­vada, and the Pa­cific Ter­ri­to­ries. You can al­ways get an­swers to your Medi­care ques­tions by call­ing 1-800-MEDI­CARE (1-800-633-4227).

Are you look­ing for a nurs­ing home for your­self or a loved one? Peo­ple go to nurs­ing homes for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. They may be sick or hurt and re­quire on­go­ing nurs­ing care. They may have had surgery and need time to re­cu­per­ate. Or they may have chronic care needs or dis­abil­i­ties that make long-term nurs­ing care a ne­ces­sity.

Many com­mu­ni­ties have nurs­ing homes. But how do you pick one that’s best for you or your fam­ily mem­ber in need?

The first step is to learn about the avail­able fa­cil­i­ties in your area. You can do that in a num­ber of ways.

Ask peo­ple you trust, like your fam­ily, friends, or neigh­bors if they’ve had per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence with nurs­ing homes. They may be able to rec­om­mend one to you.

Ask your doc­tor if he or she pro­vides care at any lo­cal nurs­ing homes. If so, ask your doc­tor which nurs­ing homes he or she vis­its so you may con­tinue to see him or her while you’re in the nurs­ing home.

If you’re in the hospi­tal, ask your so­cial worker about dis­charge plan­ning as early in your hospi­tal stay as pos­si­ble. The hospi­tal’s staff should be able to help you find a nurs­ing home that meets your needs and help with your trans­fer when you’re ready to be dis­charged.

Medi­care pro­vides a handy way to check out lo­cal nurs­ing homes, us­ing our Nurs­ing Home Com­pare web­site: www.Medi­care.gov/nurs­inghome­com­pare.

Nurs­ing Home Com­pare pro­vides a wealth of in­for­ma­tion on qual­ity of care and staffing lev­els at more than 15,000 nurs­ing homes cer­ti­fied for Medi­care and Med­i­caid pa­tients through­out the United States. One ex­cel­lent fea­ture is the star rat­ing sys­tem. Fa­cil­i­ties can re­ceive from one to five stars, with five stars be­ing the high­est rat­ing. These star rat­ings give you a quick snap­shot of the fa­cil­ity.

Keep in mind that Medi­care cov­ers short-term nurs­ing home stays fol­low­ing hos­pi­tal­iza­tion, but gen­er­ally doesn’t cover long-term care stays in a nurs­ing home. Medi­care cov­er­age of home and com­mu­ni­ty­based long-term care ser­vices is very limited.

Med­i­caid cov­ers long-term nurs­ing home stays, and may in­clude cov­er­age of home- and com­mu­ni­ty­based ser­vices (HCBS). HCBS pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple with Med­i­caid to get ser­vices in their own home or com­mu­nity. These pro­grams serve a va­ri­ety of groups, in­clud­ing peo­ple with men­tal ill­nesses, in­tel­lec­tual or de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties, and/or phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties.

But a nurs­ing home may not be the best op­tion. A va­ri­ety of com­mu­nity ser­vices may help with your per­sonal care and ac­tiv­i­ties, as well as with home mod­i­fi­ca­tion and equip­ment to sup­port you stay­ing at home.

Some ser­vices, like vol­un­teer groups that help with things like shop­ping or transportation, may be low cost or may ask for a vol­un­tary do­na­tion. Some ser­vices may be avail­able at var­ied costs de­pend­ing on where you live and the ser­vices you need.

These home ser­vices and pro­grams may be avail­able in your com­mu­nity: Adult day care; Adult day health care, which of­fers nurs­ing and ther­apy; Meal pro­grams; Se­nior cen­ters; Friendly vis­i­tor pro­grams; Help with shop­ping and transportation;

Help with le­gal ques­tions, pay­ing bills, and other fi­nan­cial mat­ters.

How do you find such lo­cal ser­vices? Try the El­der­care Lo­ca­tor, a guide to help older adults and their care­givers con­nect to ser­vices, in­clud­ing long-term care ser­vices and sup­ports.

Visit www.el­der­care.gov, or call 1-800-677-1116.

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