Nursing homes take care of thousands of patients each day, and there is a good chance sometime after you retire that you will need to spend some time in a skilled nursing facility. Despite what you may have heard about nursing homes, not all of them are the same. In El Paso, there are over a dozen facilities that provide a variety of services. Take the Montevista at Coronado for example, a facility that offers Alzheimer’s care, independent living, as well as nursing and rehabilitative care. The Coronado Nursing Center provides long and short term nursing care stays for seniors and Mesa Hills Specialty Hospital and Rehabilitation takes care of older adults with chronic diseases and conditions.
El Paso has a lot to offer older adults when it comes to nursing homes, and this guide can help you learn the basics of the industry here.
In 2014, the US had over 1.7 million beds in nursing homes.
Texas has 1,215 certified Medicare and Medicaid nursing facilities and over 132,000 beds available.
El Paso is home to 14 certified facilities.
15% of seniors 65 and older in the US had a disability that made independent living difficult and 8% had self-care difficulty and 23% had troubles with ambulatory care.
About 40.8% of occupied nursing home beds in Texas were to seniors 65 or older.
Most seniors can expect to stay an average of three years in a nursing home, but that number can vary with age, gender, and condition. For example, women usually live longer than men so their average length of stay can be upwards of five years. Seniors with chronic or debilitating conditions can also expect to stay longer.
Nursing homes also don’t always serve as long-term care for some residents. They offer a place to stay when patients need a transition between their home and the hospital. If a relatively healthy senior breaks their leg, for example, they might go to a nursing home to get therapy before they return home. This is common for many seniors who have just had surgery or an illness like the flu or pneumonia.
Respite care is also common in nursing homes and often used by family caregivers. If you take care of an elderly relative, it’s important that you take regular breaks to avoid caregiver burnout. Nursing homes will often have respite care if you want to take a vacation or a break that lasts longer than a day. These stays are also a good trial run for nursing facilities in the area and gives you an idea of what’s best if you ever need long-term care in the future.
Nursing homes are considered a step above assisted living facilities and provide a wider range of services. They can take care of personal assistance tasks like getting out of bed, off the toilet, bathing, and general mobility. The nursing staff also can care for more medical needs like wound care, management of medications, therapy, and monitoring of medical conditions. Both nurses and certified nursing assistants take care of these tasks.
Many residents who are only in the nursing home for a short time will be there to get therapy. Treatment could include speech therapy to help with talking or swallowing, occupational therapy to improve on daily tasks like writing, or physical therapy to help patients that have had surgery or an injury move with ease again. Hospice care could also be provided for patients with terminal illnesses and helps both them and their families prepare for what’s about to come.
Meals are also provided in nursing homes and they will take care of the specific nutritional needs of each resident. Meals served in a dining hall give seniors a chance to socialize with other residents or meet with family members for a meal. Nurses will be available to help with eating and if you can’t make it to the dining hall, you can eat in your room.
Nursing homes aren’t just for medical purposes. Social and spiritual activities happen all the time to help the residents live a better quality of life. Social events could include movies, games, arts and crafts, live performances, and other types of entertainment. Seniors who can move around might also be able to go on local outings. There will also be holiday celebrations, religious services, Bible study groups, and prayer meetings at many places.
You can also find a salon, nail, and barber services at many homes which help patients get ready for visitors as well as feel their best during their stay.
The state average for a semi-private room is around $54,020 per year while a private room will cost around $71,175 annually. Compared to those costs, El Paso is pretty much in line with the averages. A semi-private room costs $55,298 per year or a monthly cost of $4,608. Private rooms are $66,795 per year or $5,566 per month. El Paso is on the lower end of the scale when you look at other Texas cities like Dallas, Austin, or Fort Worth.
If cost concerns you, remember that these are just averages and there are a lot of factors that go into the total cost. The size of the facility and its location play a significant role as well as what services you need and how long you stay. If you use a Medicaid approved facility and are a Medicaid patient, you will get the agreed upon rate. If you’re a low-income senior but don’t qualify for Medicaid, some non-profit facilities might be willing to work with you on cost.
It’s important to do your homework when you look for a skilled nursing facility because you want to choose the best one for your budget and needs. If you need a nursing home fast, consider using a senior advisor to narrow down your search list. Only use facilities that have the proper license and ask about their history of complaints and how they resolved them. You should be able to ask questions and get straightforward answers. If it ever feels like they are hiding something, look for a new home.
The best way to get a feel for each location is to visit because it gives you a chance to see how the staff interacts with residents, check the cleanliness of the place and talk with residents to see how they like the facility. You can contact the Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities to learn more about each facility and create a list of questions to ask.
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