Navigating the landscape of nursing homes can be overwhelming, especially for families who are new to the process. From understanding the various levels of care to deciphering complex legal jargon, there’s a lot to grasp when considering long-term care options for a loved one. To help demystify this journey, we’ve compiled a list of ten essential nursing home terms that every family should know. Whether you’re just beginning your research or are already in the midst of making decisions, having a solid understanding of these terms will empower you to advocate for your loved one and make informed choices about their care.

We hope you will find this guide from [blurb-name], located in [blurb-city], to be helpful as you and your family explore senior care options for your parent or loved ones. 

1. Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF): A skilled nursing facility is a residential care setting that provides round-the-clock medical care for individuals who require specialized nursing care and assistance with activities of daily living. SNFs are staffed by trained healthcare professionals, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants, who deliver a range of services tailored to meet the unique needs of each resident.

2. Long-Term Care (LTC): Long-term care refers to a variety of services designed to meet the medical, personal, and social needs of individuals who require assistance with activities of daily living over an extended period. This may include assistance with bathing, dressing, medication management, and mobility support. Long-term care can be provided in a variety of settings, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and in-home care.

3. Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): Activities of daily living are basic tasks that individuals typically perform independently as part of their daily routine. These activities include bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, eating, and mobility. For individuals who require long-term care, assistance with one or more ADLs may be necessary to maintain their health and well-being.

4. Medicare: Medicare is a federal health insurance program primarily for individuals aged 65 and older, as well as certain younger individuals with disabilities. While Medicare covers some skilled nursing facility care for eligible beneficiaries, it is important to understand the specific criteria and limitations of Medicare coverage for nursing home services.

5. Medicaid: Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides health coverage to low-income individuals and families. Medicaid may cover long-term care services, including nursing home care, for eligible individuals who meet certain financial and functional eligibility criteria. Understanding Medicaid eligibility requirements and the application process is essential for families considering nursing home care for their loved ones.

6. Resident Rights: Residents of nursing homes have specific rights and protections under federal and state laws. These rights include the right to dignity and respect, the right to privacy, the right to make decisions about their care, and the right to voice grievances without fear of retaliation. Familiarizing yourself with these rights can help ensure that your loved one receives high-quality care and is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

7. Advance Directive: An advance directive is a legal document that allows individuals to specify their preferences for medical treatment in the event that they become unable to communicate their wishes. This may include decisions about life-sustaining treatments, such as resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, and artificial nutrition and hydration. Having an advance directive in place can help ensure that your loved one’s wishes are respected and followed, even if they are unable to communicate them themselves.

8. Care Plan: A care plan is a personalized document that outlines the specific care and services that will be provided to a nursing home resident based on their individual needs and preferences. Care plans are developed in collaboration with the resident, their family members, and the interdisciplinary care team, which may include physicians, nurses, therapists, and social workers. Regular review and updating of the care plan are essential to ensure that it remains responsive to the resident’s changing needs and goals.

9. Ombudsman: A long-term care ombudsman is an advocate for residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Ombudsmen are trained and certified to investigate and resolve complaints, provide information and assistance to residents and their families, and advocate for improvements in the quality of care and quality of life for residents. Knowing how to contact the ombudsman can provide families with an additional resource for addressing concerns and ensuring that their loved one’s rights are protected.

10. Respite Care: Respite care is short-term, temporary care provided to individuals who require assistance with activities of daily living and may benefit from a brief period of relief for their primary caregivers. Respite care can be provided in a variety of settings, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and adult day care centers. It offers caregivers the opportunity to take a break from their caregiving responsibilities while ensuring that their loved one’s needs are met by trained professionals.

In conclusion, understanding these ten nursing home terms is essential for families embarking on the journey of finding long-term care for a loved one. By familiarizing themselves with these terms and concepts, families can make informed decisions about their loved one’s care, advocate effectively on their behalf, and ensure that they receive the high-quality, personalized care and support they deserve.

The Five Towns Premier Rehabilitation and Nursing Center offers residents individualized care in a culturally sensitive environment. We offer quality, individualized and specialized services and programs in long term care, short term rehabilitation and sub-acute care.