What is the next step when it comes to making a move to the health care area? We have all heard the term nursing home. That horrible connotation that dredges up visions of retirement. What is a nursing home today?

A full service skilled nursing facility takes on the primary meaning of Medicare certification. The skilled verbiage denotes, Medicare and its certification. Another option would be a private pay nursing facility, make sure to ask whether or not your community of choice offers Medicare services. Medicare, or title 18, is a federal insurance program that is a benefit to you typically when you turn 65 years of age. Medicare is a health insurance plan with benefits and services driven by your physician’s orders. Medicare is a big plus for short term stays in any skilled nursing facility that provides therapies in order to rehabilitate, as per physicians orders, back to independent living. Medicare services are primarily driven by your physician’s health orders.

Medicaid, or title 19, is a state and federal government program that is designed to pay for your long-term care needs when you have exhausted all of your monetary resources. This program allows you the opportunity to stay within your Medicaid retirement community provided they are duly certified. Those communities that offer Medicaid are strictly regulated by government rules and regulations which are mandated to preserve patient care, dignity, and self-preservation for as long as needed. Nobody knows how long we will live or how much money we will need to sustain us throughout our lifetime. A skilled care facility today provides 24 hour nursing care. Most people at this stage in life are no longer physically capable to care for their personal daily needs and require full nursing assistance. When looking at health care check to see if they offer physical, speech and occupational therapies on location. This is a very important piece should you need these services on a temporary basis. For example, should you end up in the hospital with a knee replacement, your physician recommends you go to a skilled nursing facility for therapy and rehabilitation, you can go directly to your retirement community’s skilled nursing care and receive all of your rehabilitation services with Medicare insurance assistance. When your health deteriorates and you make a move to a higher level of health care on a permanent basis and you are no longer able to meet your daily life functions, you are then able to stay within your community. You are surrounded by friends, neighbors and familiar faces which is very important to our and social wellbeing and peace of mind, not only for us but our families. This is the highest level of care and more often than not you are non-ambulatory and require 24 hour nursing services at this stage.

This is where your homework provides you with pertinent information about each care facility in your area along with state and federal regulations and guidelines by looking on the website: www.medicare.gov. This site will provide you with up to date information on each skilled nursing facility in your area. It will rate each facility and if you look deep enough it will show nursing staff to patient ratios, hours and assessment information which is a very valuable tool when selecting a nursing facility. Be resourceful and knowledgeable when selecting your next step!