They are many options that allow an individual to stay within their home. Home delivered meals, paid caregivers, respite services and adult day care can all be valuable tools. But sometimes care at home is simply no longer safe, comfortable, or practical. The question then becomes how to provide the level of care the individual needs and deserves outside the home.
Determine the level of care your loved one needs
Just as we advise our clients to consider what their air ambulance needs really are, so we can help them determine the safest and most effective form of transport, so is it important to think about the type of care your loved one needs. A checklist is helpful. Once you have an idea of what activities of daily living (ADLs) your loved one needs assistance with, then you can begin researching your options.
Levels of care
Assisted living homes (ALHs) are licensed to provide care for up to 10 individuals in a residential setting. Homes are licensed to provide different levels of care and there is generally a sliding scale of price based on the care required.
• Pros: Many individuals like the residential setting, feeling that it is familiar to the home they left behind. ALHs are typically the most affordable option for care outside the home.
• Cons: Some people do not like the idea of sharing living space. Activities within and outside the home may be limited. The home may not be licensed to provide the level of care your loved one needs and special dietary restrictions may be difficult to serve.
Assisted living facilities (ALFs) are licensed to provide care and assistance with activities of daily living for more than 11 individuals. An ALF commonly resembles a small hotel or apartment complex. Individuals live in an apartment-like setting with their own restroom and possibly their own kitchen. These facilities have medical personnel who can assist with ADLs, particularly bathing, grooming and medication reminders. Higher levels of care are available at increasing prices.
• Pros: Increased activity schedule over what an ALH offers. Private lodging is available and married couples can reside together.
• Cons: Level of care increases can greatly raise the price. A person may soon require too much care for an ALF and need to be moved to another facility.
Dementia specific assisted living facilities are care facilities that are specifically designed and built with the needs of individuals with dementia in mind. The facilities most recently built resemble several cottages on a locked campus; however, there are still some locked units attached to ALFs or skilled nursing facilities that provide dementia specific care. The facility’s employees are trained to provide all levels of care. And, most individuals can live in the same facility until the end of their life.
• Pros: This is the most appropriate environment for individuals with dementia.
• Cons: The concept of a locked facility – regardless of the quality of care – can be disturbing to some people.
Skilled Nursing Facilities
Formerly called nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities are state-licensed, long-term care facilities that offer 24-hour medical care provided by registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and certified nurse assistants (CNAs). In addition, there is a house physician who visits on a regular basis. Some skilled nursing facilities provide short-term rehabilitation for people transitioning from the hospital to home, but they more typically provide care to the frailest residents who are dependent on nursing care.
• Pros: If 24-hour nursing care is required, this is the place to get it.
• Cons: SNFs are very expensive. Unless you have long term care insurance, SNFs can be cost prohibitive for most people for long-term stays.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities or Campus of Care Communities
• Pros: Couples can remain on the same grounds while each receiving the care they need.
• Cons: These facilities can be expensive and the individuals who see the largest financial benefit are those who bought in early – so advanced planning is crucial.
Because every individual’s care needs are different, the search for the appropriate care facility is different for every family. Begin by defining your loved one’s needs and what type of facility best suits their immediate and long-term needs. In Thursday’s blog, MedFlight911 Air Ambulance on Choosing a Care Facility for Your Loved One, we will focus on turning this knowledge into a concrete decision.