Four basic types of services are offered by nursing facilities:
Medical Care – Residents in nursing facilities are under the care of physicians, who visit regularly and are responsible for the residents' overall plan of care. Physicians certify the need for nursing care and may serve as a resource for information about long-term care facilities in the community.
Nursing and Rehabilitative Care – All nursing facilities require the professional skills of a registered or licensed practical nurse. Nursing services include assessment, treatments, injections, coordination of care, and medication administration.
Rehabilitative servicessuch as post-hospital stroke, heart, or orthopedic care are available in addition to related services such as respiratory therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy.
Personal Care – Personal care is provided to residents who need help with various activities such as walking, getting in and out of bed, bathing, dressing, and eating.
Residential Care – Residential care services include general supervision, provided within a safe and secure environment, along with a variety of with a variety of programs to meet the social and spiritual needs of residents.
After you know the type of services needed, obtain the names of facilities in your area. Talk with administrative personnel and make an appointment to tour the facility. Try to visit each facility at several different times of the day. Be sure to ask questions about what you are seeing, hearing, or feeling about the facility.
Ask what types of group activities are offered and how individual residents' needs and preferences are identified. Residents should have the opportunity to be involved in activities that provide mental, physical, and social stimulation.
Take some time to talk with the residents and their families. Ask them about their life in the facility. Also, try to plan a visit to the facility during mealtimes so you can observe food presentation and interaction in the dining room.
During your visit, talk to the caregivers; many of these talented professionals are registered or licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants who have devoted their careers to caring for the elderly and the disabled. People providing services to people is what long-term care is all about.