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Q: Do I Need a Nursing Home? Are There Other Options?

Nursing homes provide both short and long term nursing and rehabilitative care. Individuals who require nursing home care usually have great difficulty completing many daily activities independently. These individuals require supervision or assistance to complete activities such as taking medications, walking, completing grooming tasks like brushing their hair and teeth, taking a bath or shower, and using the toilet. This may have resulted from an acute illness (such as a fractured bone, stroke, etc.) or from long term chronic illnesses (such as arthritis, pulmonary diseases, dementia, etc.). 

Nursing homes can be a place for someone who needs brief rehabilitation; it is no longer true that a nursing home placement is “forever.” Hospitals tend to discharge people sooner than they have in the past. Often a brief nursing home stay allows an individual to recuperate prior to returning to her/his previous lifestyle. Whether choosing a nursing home for a short-term or long-term stay, the first step is to have a physician evaluate your needs. The physician will determine the services you will need and make a recommendation for the length of your stay. Your physician may provide you with opinions as to the appropriate nursing homes to meet your needs. If you are in a hospital, the hospital social worker can also help you choose a nursing home and plan your discharge. 

The Area Agency on Aging will also complete a need assessment to determine the level of care and length of stay appropriate to your situation. This is called an Options Determination. To learn more about this program go to the Department of Aging website.

Under certain circumstance you may even be able to rehabilitate at home with assistance from home health services. This option is considered when there is adequate support available from family, professional caregivers, and the communities in which you reside. 

It is important to remember that nursing homes provide a high level of supervision and resident interaction. Some medical conditions require this intense type of monitoring, however, not all medical conditions require this skilled level of care. Some individuals can benefit from less stringent monitoring and assistance. Options for this type of care can vary widely including personal care homes, assisted living, boarding homes, and continuous care retirement communities (commonly referred to as CCRC’s). There is a wealth of information on these placement options available on the Internet. Simply enter key words and complete a search. The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare monitors many of these types of facilities.

The Pennsylvania nursing home attorneys at Schmidt Kramer Injury Lawyers see that this case has repercussions for families with elderly parents. Our nursing home attorneys also work on cases of nursing home neglect or abuse. If you suspect that your loved one is not being cared for properly in a skilled nursing facility, please contact a Central Pennsylvania  nursing home abuse lawyer at (717) 888-8888 or dial 8 and 717-888-8888 for a free consultation.