Nursing home care isn’t always a fun option to consider, but if you ever find yourself in need of care, you’re in good hands in the Washington, DC area. The city boasts dozens of highly rated options, many of which offer more than just basic care. As an example, Sunrise on Connecticut Avenue offers a full range of care options, from assisted living to nursing home care, and also provides memory care services. Each individual property has a community and atmosphere all their own, making it easy to find one that works with your care needs.
Below we will summarize some important skilled nursing care basics in Washington, DC including expected monthly costs, services provided at facilities, and key things to search for in a nursing home.
There are over 18 skilled nursing facilities in the area, and over half provide Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
In the District of Columbia in 2014, nursing homes had over 2,500 residents.
Of seniors over the age of 65, around two-thirds will need long-term care.
Most long-term care residents' stay is around 3 years.
20 percent of seniors in long-term care are there for 5 years or more.
As we stated in the above overview, seniors will reside in a nursing home for 3 years on average. Women’s average is traditionally a few months longer because of their longer lifespan, but every case is different. Depending on your medical needs, your stay may range from a few weeks to many years.
Traditional skilled nursing care is administered on a long-term basis for patients with serious and chronic health conditions. In some cases, short-term care makes sense like following a hospitalization when a patient is in need of assistance and rehabilitation before returning home.
Another way to utilize short-term care is for respite for caregivers of Alzheimer’s or dementia patients. Skilled nursing facilities can offer a few days or weeks of care, so that caregivers can travel or tend to their own medical needs. Utilizing a facility for short-term care is also a great way to audition the property in case your needs evolve and long-term care becomes a requirement.
Skilled nursing facilities provide one of the highest levels of care available to residents. Daily assistance is provided by certified nurse assistants (CNA’s) with personal care like bathing and feeding, as well as with medical care like medication management and wound care. The CNA’s all report directly to the registered nurse at the nursing home.
Physical, occupational, and speech therapy are also commonly offered on-site for residents at nursing homes. Hospice care and services may also be available to seniors and their loved ones when they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Nursing homes will provide daily meals to residents that meet all doctors’ requirements and are nutritionally balanced. Residents can eat in the common dining area or take meals in their rooms, and assistance with feeding is provided by the staff, if required.
Weekly activities are programmed to keep the residents engaged and social and include things like movie nights, board games, holiday celebrations, and music troupes. Spiritual and religious study groups and weekly services may also be available on-site to residents who wish to attend.
Beauty salons and barber services are often offered on the property at a discounted rate to residents as well.
According to research compiled in the 2015 Genworth Cost of Care survey, the median monthly fee that District of Columbia residents paid for semi-private and private nursing home care was $8,213. These rates are lower than the state of Maryland as a whole whose seniors paid $8,440 monthly for semi-private care and $9,186 monthly for private care.
Keep in mind these figures are averages, and you’ll find throughout the DC area facilities will offer varying rates based on their location, their size, and the services provided. Seniors receiving Medicaid assistance will need to find facilities who accept Medicaid appointment and offer the negotiated rates. Low-income seniors who don’t qualify for Medicaid may be able to work with non-profit facilities to negotiate a lower rate.
By visiting the potential nursing home facility, you’ll be able to get the information you need to decide if it is a good fit. On site, ask to see their licenses, a recent inspection report, and inquire about their history with complaints and resolutions. During your tour, sample a meal, observe the staff and the staff ratios and interaction with residents, the cleanliness, and building security. You may also find it valuable to ask family and friends for recommendations and feedback, or to read online reviews of the property. Visit the DC Office on Aging website for additional resources on nursing homes in the area.
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