Over the last few decades, nursing facilities have seen significant transformations. Government laws and consumer demands have sparked these changes. Nursing homes today are highly regulated, high-quality, sophisticated institutions for the care and treatment of elderly persons who have serious physical health difficulties and/or mental disabilities, as opposed to nursing homes in previous decades. The standards that govern care in nursing homes do not apply to assisted living facilities.
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Reasons For Living In A Nursing Home
The most common cause for older persons living in nursing homes is a condition that prevents them from doing activities of daily living (ADLs). People who live in nursing facilities, predictably, have greater disabilities than those who live at home. Over 80% of nursing home residents require assistance with three or more ADLs (such as dressing and bathing). Around 90% of individuals who can walk require assistance or supervision. More than half of the residents suffer from incontinence (the inability to control one’s bowels or bladder), and more than a third have hearing or vision problems.
Mental illnesses are widespread among nursing home residents, in addition to physical ailments. Dementia, in fact, is still the most common problem, affecting 50-70 percent of residents. More than three-quarters of nursing-home residents have difficulty making daily decisions, and two-thirds suffer memory issues or forget where they are.
Problematic behaviors affect at least one-third of nursing home patients. Verbally/physically abusing others, acting badly in public, refusing necessary care, and wandering are examples of these behaviors. Communication issues are also widespread in nursing homes, with over half of residents having difficulty being understood as well as understanding others. Another problem that affects nursing home patients is depression. According to research, it is more common among nursing home patients than in community people.
Length of Stay
In nursing facilities, the length of residence varies substantially. About a quarter of those who are admitted to these facilities only stay for a short time (3 months or less). Many persons who stay in a nursing home for a short period are first hospitalized for rehabilitation or terminal (end-of-life) care. About half of the residents stay in the nursing home for at least a year, while 21% stay for nearly five years. Surprisingly, many people who stay for a longer period of time see an improvement in function.
Nursing Homes’ Characteristics
After surgery, illness, or other unexpected medical problems, nursing homes are increasingly providing medical treatments similar to those provided in hospitals. Hospital stays are shorter than they used to be for older persons, who require a higher degree of care. Medical services vary greatly between nursing facilities, however they commonly include the following:
- Skilled Nursing Care
- Orthopedic treatment (care for muscle, joint, and bone problems)
- After surgery, breathing treatments can help.
- Occupational, physical, and speech therapy
- Antibiotics and intravenous therapy
- Treatment of wounds
How to Choose a Nursing Home
Nursing homes can be recommended by your healthcare physician or another healthcare professional (such as a home health nurse or social worker). You can also contact us at OP Health and we’ll help you find the right nursing home for your or your loved one.