What is a Nursing Home?

Nursing homes (also called skilled nursing facilities) give older adults the greatest levels of care they can get outside of going to the hospital. They offer what is known as custodial care, which includes help getting into or out of bed. They also provide help with feeding, bathing, and dressing too. Nursing homes are unique from other types of senior housing facilities in that nursing homes give seniors a high level of medical care. For example, there’s a licensed physician that oversees each patient’s individual care. Also, there is a nurse or other medical professional who is almost always there at the facility. Skilled nursing care is also available to residents, normally 24 hours a day. Other professionals, like occupational or physical therapists, are there to help too. This allows nursing home residents to receive medical procedures or therapies on site at the nursing home, which is a huge advantage over different types of facilities.

Living arrangements, layout, and overall ambience in nursing homes is different from facility to facility. For instance, there may be some rooms that are private while other rooms are shared. Rooms can have their own bathroom, or they could be share in a hallway. It could be that some meals are provided in the room, while others are shared together in a communal dining area. The primary goal of a nursing home is to provide care to the residents as easily as possible. Recently, some nursing homes are moving to a newer design model that allows for smaller groups of 10 to 30 people to live in a home with private kitchens, communal areas, and continuity of staff.

Whether you’ve had months or just a few days to decide that it’s time for a nursing home—choosing a nursing home isn’t easy, and emotions can run the gamut from frustration to guilt or even anger. Those emotions are normal, as this is a major life decision. 

If you’re having trouble coming to terms with the situation or your own feelings on the subject, try talking with trusted friends, neighbors, or even clergy. If you are able to get your feelings out in the open, it can help you have an easier time of accepting the choices you need to make.