Caring for seniors in a variety of care facility environments
Today’s seniors raised us, educated us and supported us through all of our challenges and struggles. Now many of them need our help. Families do what they can, but dementia and other complex conditions often require full-time care and medical expertise. Skilled nursing and assisted living facilities provide what loved ones often cannot. Senior living communities are active, welcoming places where residents can continue to maintain independence and vitality. They also have the expertise to handle complicated medical conditions and are well-equipped to handle the financial and social services needs of disabled, chronically ill, and geriatric residents.
Small or large, skilled nursing and assisted living facilities are complex communities alive with action. A diverse group of people and occupations come together to best serve residents’ health care needs utilizing a person-centered approach. Unlike other care settings, where interactions with patients and families are intermittent, geriatric care workers develop deep relationships with residents and their families. Staff at skilled nursing and assisted living facilities work on collaborative teams, maximizing and utilizing each person’s unique skills and knowledge to provide the best possible care to residents.
Skilled nursing care facilities are licensed healthcare facilities that offer round-the-clock nursing care and are inspected and regulated by a state’s department of health services. Skilled nursing care involves trained professionals performing services that are needed due to temporary or permanent injury or illness. Staff also provide custodial or personal care that focuses on helping residents with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, personal hygiene, eating, maneuvering in and out of bed, walking and incontinence. Seniors who require a skilled nursing setting can no longer live alone and need more help than their family or present care giver can provide.
Short Stay Rehabilitation
Short-stay rehabilitation programs provide therapy for individuals recovering from a surgery, illness or accident, helping them to achieve their maximum functional capacity and get back to their homes. Short-stay rehab patients are not necessarily frail or elderly. They may simply require physical, occupational, speech therapy or a skilled service following time in a hospital. The length of stay for those needing short-term, in-patient rehabilitation can range from a couple of days to several weeks. Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) offer short-term rehabilitation services that may be covered by Medicare for up to 100 days. Dedicated, skilled therapists are part of an interdisciplinary team that includes physicians, nurses, social workers and nutritionists, who work with the patient and family members to develop an individualized plan of care focused on returning the person to their community at their optimal functional level.
Memory care is a distinct set of services that specifically caters to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other types of memory problems. Alzheimer’s and dementia pose unique care challenges. In addition to providing assistance with activities of daily living, the staff in memory care are specially trained to assist people with dementia or impaired cognition. Communities that provide memory care often have a neighborhood solely for residents requiring this kind of care and incorporate design elements that research has shown to lower stress in individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Outdoor and indoor spaces are designed to be both secure and soothing. In addition to the general state-level licensing of care facilities, memory care can be further regulated by special laws requiring care providers to perform certain additional tasks and disclose the special services they offer.