You might not have given much thought to nursing homes, but it’s important to understand how they work and what the facilities in your area can offer. Virginia Beach is home to a diverse group of nursing homes, and you can choose the one that best fits your needs. There is the River Pointe Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center that offers both long-term skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation services. The Bayside Health and Rehabilitation Center gives seniors a place to go to get stronger before the return home and the Beth Shalom Villages combines quality nursing care and traditional Jewish values for individual care.
There may come a time when you need a nursing home, and this guide can help you learn what nursing homes offer as well as pricing in the Virginia Beach area.
According to CMC Nursing Home Data Compendium, Virginia Department of Health, and Administration on Aging’s Profile of Older Americans:
Virginia has over 270 nursing facilities with 31,927 beds available.
Nursing facilities in Virginia are required to be inspected every two years to maintain their Medicaid/Medicare status.
There was an occupancy rate of 87.5% in Virginia in 2014.
1.2 million US seniors 65 and older lived in a nursing home in 2014.
There are a lot of factors that go into how long a senior might stay at a nursing home, but the average duration is about three years. Women might have a little longer stay because they live longer than men. Patients with severe medical conditions might also have to stay longer.
Nursing homes don’t only serve as a last resort for older adults but can act as a transitional phase for seniors leaving the hospital and working to go home. For example, if an otherwise healthy senior is in the hospital for pneumonia but has a good prognosis, they might go to a nursing home for a little bit to get breathing therapy to strengthen their lungs before they go back home.
Respite care is another short term stay that many nursing homes offer. Caregivers sometimes go on vacation or might need a break, so they don’t get caregiver burnout. Nursing homes give seniors a place to stay until their regular caregiver returns. These respite care stays can also act as a tryout for nursing homes, if you need one for long-term care in the future.
A nursing home is considered a step below a hospital but above an assisted living facility. Both certified nursing assistants (CNA) and nurses will work together to care for personal and medical needs. Personal care includes getting dressed, bathing, grooming, going to the bathroom, and wheelchair transfers. Nurses can also help with wound dressings, medications, therapy schedules, and check on vital signs.
Many seniors need therapy whether it’s occupational to get better at daily tasks, speech to help with swallowing and talking, or physical to strengthen weak limbs and walk again. All these therapies can be found at skilled nursing facilities and help seniors get home faster. For the seniors that won’t return home, hospice care is provided. A care team will assist the patient and their family with anything they need.
Everyone needs to eat, and for some residents, nutrition plays an important role in their recovery. Meals can be tailored to individual needs and served in a dining hall atmosphere. Residents can socialize or meet with visiting family members during this time. Patients might also have the option to eat in their room if they prefer.
Nursing homes also have full social calendars to help keep residents engaged and work on motor skills. There could be movie nights, regularly scheduled game groups, book discussions, pet therapy, arts and crafts, cooking classes, live entertainment, and even outings for mobile seniors. Some places will also have spiritual groups including holiday celebrations, religious services, Bible groups, and prayer meetings.
Residents can also have the chance to look their best with salon and barber services. People will come around to the residents to make sure their hair is cut and trimmed and might even offer nail services as well.
The 2016 Genworth Cost of Care Survey reported that a semi-private room costs an average of $78,475 per year while private rooms cost an average of $92,710 annually. These averages are a little lower than neighboring towns like Richmond that was $84,315 and $94,353 per year and Roanoke which was $83,038 and $103,295. The monthly costs for a semi-private room in Virginia Beach work out to $6,540, and private rooms come to $7,726 per month.
While these prices might seem high, remember they are just averages. There are thirteen nursing home facilities in the Virginia Beach area, and their rates can vary. The size of the facility and their location can change the total cost as can the amount of time you need to stay there. Different services at the facility can also raise or lower the price.
If you use a Medicaid approved facility and are a Medicaid patient, your rate will be the contractually agreed upon price. Some seniors still have a low-income but don’t meet the requirements for Medicaid assistance. If that is the case for you, consider using a non-profit skilled nursing facility because they might be able to work on a sliding scale and offer a rate that fits your budget.
Since there is such a variety of nursing home services, you need to do your homework to find one that fits your needs. If you don’t have the time to do the research, ask for help from friends and family members or consider using a senior advisor. Start with facilities that are licensed and respond quickly to complaints and work hard to resolve them. Ask to see their inspection report and if they are hesitant to answer all your questions, move on to the next place.
You can learn a lot by visiting a nursing home, so try to make time for that. Check the cleanliness of the facility, how many staff members they have, how they interact with patients and talk with residents about their experience. The Virginia Health Care Association has a list of fact sheets about various nursing home topics that can help you search for the best facility in your area.
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