Home health care has enabled patients to leave the
hospital much earlier to recover in their own homes. This is the most ideal situation
for recovery - surrounded by loved ones and friends in a familiar environment. Most
insurance companies will pay for skilled professionals to enter the person's home on an
intermittent basis, to educate and monitor the disease process, or to perform skilled care.
Although it is the health care professional's goal to arrange for this type of care, this
may not always be possible. When a family member becomes ill or disabled, intermittent
skilled care may not be sufficient or appropriate to meet the needs of the individual. As a
result of an altered mental or physical mobility status, the patient may need long-term, continuous
care to ensure their safety and well being. Unfortunately continuous care at home is costly and is
not covered under most insurance policies. Many patients and their families are unable to pay
the cost of caregivers in their home on an hourly basis. Although they may want to, family
members may not be able to care for their loved ones due to their own family obligations
and/or geographical area in which they live.
Fortunately there is a solution: Residential Care Facilities. It encompasses several options.
Skilled Nursing Facility - This is not an acute care hospital. However, there are skilled professionals on staff who perform the skilled care needed and will monitor, educate and rehabilitate the patient. Frequently the patient is able to return to his or her own home environment.
Locked Alzheimer Board and Care - This facility is for patients with mental deficits that have a tendency to wander and need special care. They occupy their own private room or with a roommate. There is a communal dining room and planned activities. They have caregivers who watch them, assist with feeding, ambulation, personal hygiene, dressing and their medications.
Large Board and Care Facilities - These facilities are for people who need assistance but can perform some care for themselves. They can have a private room or a roommate. They eat in a communal dining room or can leave with family members for meals or activities. Most likely, skilled nursing is not provided by the facility unless a home health agency sends a nurse over.
Small Board and Care Facilities - These are houses in a residential area. There are generally 4-6 clients in each house. This environment is run more like a private home. The clients eat in the dining room together at the dining room table. They sit in the yard or watch TV in the living room. The care here is more intimate since it is a smaller setting. All medication is given to them. There are certain qualifications to living here. For example, you cannot require Foley catheter care, or be bedridden.
Senior Residences - These are apartments or studios in a large building. A client or couple lives in their own private unit. There are planned activities and community buses for their trips to the grocery or pharmacy. They have the option of eating in the communal dining room or in their own apartment. They can order maid service, laundry service, etc. The clients here are responsible for their own medication.
Assisted Living - This type of environment is located generally in a senior residence. The client has the same type of unit but is assisted with personal hygiene, ambulating, medication and housekeeping.