There is a lot more to nursing homes than seniors and sick people, and if you find yourself in need of a nursing home, you should know as much as you can. There are nursing homes that cater to specific needs like memory care, and there are some that offer short-term care as well as 24-hour skilled nursing services. Newark has a few facilities in the area, but they are also close to places like East Orange and New York that have a variety of options as well. Places like Alaris Health at Kearny can provide long-term care as well as short-term hospital rehab. The United Methodist Communities at Bishop Taylor in East Orange have services that range from Alzheimer’s care, assisted living, rehabilitation, respite care, and hospice care.
If you’re going to find what you need from a nursing home, you should use this guide to learn about costs, services, and how to find the best fit for you and your needs.
According to the following sources SeniorAdvisor.com; CMS, Nursing Home Data Compendium; American Health Care Association, Fast Facts; CDC, Nursing Home FastStats; and The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, State Health Facts:
In 2015, there were 44,887 residents in nursing homes in New Jersey, which is about 3% of the total population.
New Jersey had about 362 facilities in 2014 and an average occupancy rate of 86.6%.
Half of the facilities in New Jersey are non-profit, and the other half are for profit and government owned.
About 78% of the nursing home population stays for longer than 100 days.
Medicaid takes care of 57% of the cost for nursing homes.
While there are a few things that could change the length of your stay in a nursing home, the average stay is around three years. Your gender could change this because women live longer than men and could stay longer in a nursing home. The severity of your condition could also cause you to stay longer or shorter as well.
Nursing homes are also not just for long-term care but can serve as a transition between the hospital and home for many seniors. Many nursing homes offer post-acute care for seniors that have had surgery, a fall or are recovering from illnesses like pneumonia. If a patient has a good prognosis and no complications during their recovery, they might only stay at a nursing home for a few weeks.
You can also find respite care through nursing homes which are helpful for family caregivers. Often, caregivers work 24/7 which can lead to burnout. When it’s time to take a break or vacation, respite care can provide the same care while a regular caregiver is away. These short-term stays can also serve as a trial run for future long-term care facilities.
Nursing homes are just a step below hospitals in terms of care but they still provide a variety of services. Under the supervision of a nurse, certified nursing aides can take care of things like changing bedding, getting out of bed, getting dressed, daily bathing or grooming routines. The nurses on staff will care for things like vital signs, medication reminders, monitoring previous health conditions, and wound care.
You will also find a variety of therapists in nursing homes to help residents recover faster. Physical therapy helps patients regain strength after a lengthy illness, surgery, or a fall. Occupational therapy can help them get better at daily tasks like writing their name or combing their hair. Stroke victims can benefit from speech therapy and relearn to talk, chew, and swallow. If a patient has a terminal illness, hospice care can help them and their families manage their pain and affairs.
Many seniors have specific dietary needs, and meal plans at nursing homes can be tailored to fit those needs. Most facilities have a community center where they serve meals and this gives residents a chance to socialize with their peers. If a resident can’t make it out of their room, meals can be served there too.
Nursing home calendars are often busy with plenty of activities to keep residents happy and healthy. These events could include weekly exercise classes, outings for healthier residents, live entertainment, arts and crafts, visits from therapy dogs, and game or trivia events. Religious services are also common along with holiday celebrations, prayer meetings, and Bible studies.
It might not sound important, but grooming services are big for nursing home residents. Something as simple as a haircut or a manicure can help patients feel better and look better. This service is also good for residents looking to freshen up before visitors arrive.
According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey, New Jersey has a particularly high average cost for nursing homes. In the Newark area, a semi-private room costs about $123,735 per year with a monthly cost of $10,311. A private room costs around $142,168 annually and $11,847 monthly. These costs are also higher than most of the surrounding cities as well.
If the excessive cost worries you, there are contributing factors like the size of the facility and its location. The length of your stay and the services you use can also raise or lower your total cost. If you’re a low-income senior and choose an approved facility, Medicaid can help cover your costs. There are a few non-profit facilities that might work on a sliding scale and offer you a lower rate based on your income.
If you only have a brief time to find a nursing home, you should recruit the assistance of your friends and family members. You can also consider using a senior advisor to help you with your search. These professionals get paid by the community they serve, so you can often use them free of charge. It’s important to look at facilities with the proper licensing, good inspection reports, and a history of responding to complaints.
You should visit as many places as possible so you can see how clean they are, how the staff interacts with patients, and even eat a meal in the cafeteria. Try to talk with current residents to see how they feel about the nursing home. Read reviews online and gather recommendations from your health care provider and close friends or family members.
You can also visit the Health Care Association of New Jersey for more information on questions to ask when looking for a nursing home.
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