Dallas Nursing Homes

Most of us would rather not have to look for a nursing home, but when the need arises, Dallas has lots of facilities that go above and beyond the basics of care. For example, Silverado at Turtle Creek combines an upscale assisted living setting with caregivers trained in many types of dementia. Christian Care Senior Living (in the suburb of Mesquite) offers an entire continuum of care, including Alzheimer’s and skilled nursing. Signature Pointe in North Dallas offers nursing care and rehabilitative services on a lakeside campus in North Dallas. There are dozens of other homes across the city, each with its own unique community and approach to care.

Here’s a rundown on Dallas-area nursing home costs, services, and things to look for in a skilled nursing facility.

Fast facts on nursing homes

There are more than 40 skilled nursing facilities in Dallas and approximately the same number in Fort Worth.

Across the state, some 93,400 Texas seniors lived in skilled nursing facilities in 2014.

In 2013, Texas had a total of 1,205 licensed nursing homes with a capacity of 135,350 beds.

Approximately 2/3 of 65-year olds will need long-term care at some point.

The average long-term care patient needs care for 3 years.

Twenty percent of 65-year olds will need care for 5 years or longer.

How long is a typical nursing home stay?

As we mentioned above, the average long-term care period is about 3 years. On average, women live longer than men so they usually need care for a few months longer than men. But each situation is different. Depending on why your loved one needs skilled nursing care, the stay could range from a few weeks to several years.

Most people think of nursing homes as long-term residences for seniors with chronic, major health issues, and it’s true that many nursing home residents have complex health conditions. Nursing homes also provide short-term care for older adults as they transition from hospital to home. For example, a senior who breaks a leg but has a good prognosis for recovery may spend a few weeks in a skilled nursing facility while he or she gets regular physical and occupational therapy along with medication management. In such cases, the patient usually goes home after enough healing and therapy.

Some skilled nursing facilities provide respite care, especially for dementia patients. Respite care gives family caregivers peace of mind while they take a vacation or attend to their own healthcare needs. If you or a family member need short-term rehabilitative or respite care, consider it a “try-out” for that facility in case you need long-term care later on.

Services provided in nursing homes

Nursing homes provide a step up in care from the typical assisted living arrangement. In a skilled nursing facility you’ll find the same sort of personal care help with bathing, toileting, and feeding that you find in assisted living communities, along with more medical tasks like wound care, regular checks of patient wellbeing, management of complex medication and therapy schedules, and (at some nursing homes) specialized care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. This care is provided by certified nurse assistants (CNAs) under the supervision of a registered nurse.

Other on-site care may include speech and language therapy for stroke patients and others who need help with speaking or swallowing; occupational therapy to improve skills with routine daily tasks; and physical therapy to help injured or weakened muscles and joints recover strength and range of motion. Hospice care may be provided to help residents and their loved ones manage life-ending illnesses.

The meals served at skilled nursing homes are designed to provide balanced nutrition and to follow doctors’ orders for individual resident needs. Meals are often served in a community dining room where residents can socialize, host guests, and get help with feeding if they need it. Residents usually also have the option to eat in their rooms.

Social and spiritual activities are meant to keep residents mentally active and connected to the community. Most nursing homes offer regular schedules of things to do like game nights, movie showings, pet-therapy visits, outings to local shops and attractions, and holiday celebrations. Most communities also provide some sort of spiritual and religious support through weekly services, scripture study groups, or prayer groups.

To help residents look their best and care for themselves, many nursing homes set aside space for a hair and nail salon with discounted services. Residents can keep standing appointments or freshen up before family gatherings and special events.

Nursing home rates in Dallas

According to Genworth’s 2015 Cost of Care survey, the median rate for a private nursing home room in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex was $6,540 per month. The median semi-private room rate was $4,745. Compared to other major Texas metro areas, the Dallas area is competitively priced. Genworth’s monthly median for private rooms in the Houston metro area was $6,920 and in Austin, it climbed to $7,011. In San Antonio, the private room median was $6,083.

Within the city of Dallas and across the 13 Metroplex counties, you’ll find that rates vary based on location, facility size, and extra services offered. Nursing homes that are Medicaid certified will have their own contractually agreed-upon rates for patients using the Medicaid program. Some non-profit nursing homes are willing to negotiate a lower rate for residents who don’t qualify for Medicaid but who have limited incomes and assets.   

What to look for in a nursing home

Whether you have a few months or a couple of days to look for a skilled nursing home, the standards remain the same. If time is short, you may need to recruit friends and senior care advisors to help you find the right home. You want a place that is properly licensed, has a history of properly resolving any complaints, has a good inspection record, and is clean and well-staffed. In addition to these fundamentals, you’ll want to try the food, talk with the staff, and get a sense of how engaged and well cared for the residents are. Visiting is also the best way to gauge cleanliness, staff responsiveness to resident requests, and building security.

Check online reviews for each facility you visit and talk with friends and neighbors for their recommendations. You can also contact the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services to ask specific questions about a facility.

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