Is It Time for an Alzheimer’s Nursing Home?
One of the most difficult decisions that you will make when you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s is when it comes time to choose a nursing home. You will know it is time simply because you will no longer be able to provide a safe and healthy environment for your loved one.
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There is some basic information that will help you choose a good Alzheimer’s nursing home for your family member or loved one.
There are two types of nursing care facilities that can care for an Alzheimer’s patient:
1. Skilled care: This type of Alzheimer’s nursing home only provides care that can be provided by a doctor, licensed nurse, physical or occupational therapist, respiratory therapist, or social worker. These types of nursing homes are also know as ‘sub-acute’ or ‘medicare occupancy’. This type of nursing home is generally paid for by Medicare for approximately one hundred days, so is not suitable for the long-term.
2. Long-term care: This type of Alzheimer’s nursing home is for those individuals that require a 24-hour high level of care to insure their safety. Medicare does generally not cover a long-term Alzheimer’s nursing home. You must have your own resources to fund this level of care, although there are some government programs that may help after you have exhausted your resources. If the nursing home does not accept government funding, you will have to move them to a nursing facility that does.
How to Locate an Alzheimer’s Nursing Home
The government offices of Medicare and Medicaid have an extensive database that can help you to locate a good Alzheimer’s nursing home. You may want to consider a Special Care Unit (SCU) that is specially trained in the assistance of Alzheimer’s patients. Their database rates the Alzheimer’s nursing homes by quality of care, quality of life, nutrition, and safety.
They also provide a checklist for people to use when visiting the different Alzheimer’s nursing homes. This form will help you keep track of the different nursing homes so that you can evaluate them for the best alternative. This checklist is available at http://www.alzinfo.org/pdfs/checklist.pdf and the database of nursing homes can be found at http://www.alzinfo.org/providers/default.aspx?AreaId=3.
Above all, do not feel guilty when you make the decision to use an Alzheimer’s nursing home. It is impossible for one person to provide the care needed for a person with advanced symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.