Nursing Care Facilities: Caring for Our Most Fragile Seniors

Nursing care facilities, also known as skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes, are residential medical facilities dedicated to providing care for patients with severe physical and psychological illnesses who are unable to care for themselves.

There is a greater focus on intensive, long-term medical care at communities that provide nursing care than in any other senior living facility.

Nursing care facilities are fully staffed around the clock with skilled medical personnel such as doctors, nurses and nursing assistants. In addition, many facilities have sophisticated medical equipment on site, including X-ray machines and electronic beds.

Residents of Nursing Care Facilities

Catering mostly to seniors age 65 and older, over half of residents in nursing care facilities are over the age of 85. In general, these people are challenged by serious illnesses and have trouble performing everyday tasks for themselves such as bathing, putting on clothes or using the restroom.

Patients in nursing care facilities are physically frail and need daily, or even hourly, care from trained medical staff that cannot be provided by caregivers in their home. They are often beyond the point where physical or occupational therapy can improve their condition, but are not so ill that they need to stay in a hospital.

Care and Services Available in Nursing Care Facilities

The care offered at nursing care facilities is very comprehensive and can provide for all the healthcare needs of a patient. From morning until night, trained medical staff are monitoring the conditions of residents and making sure they take their medications and consume a nutritious diet.

These are things that most caregivers cannot provide at home on a 24-hour basis, but nursing care facilities can. Putting a loved one in these facilities can drastically improve their quality of life through constant monitoring and care.

Nursing Care Facility Costs

While skilled nursing care is all-encompassing, it can also be very expensive. Rates vary depending on location and whether a room is private or semi-private. The national average for a private room at a nursing care facility is over $200 per day.

In addition to payment for nursing care, there may also be incidental costs, such as medical catheters and incontinence products, transportation to appointments, and dietary supplements, if required by the resident.

Medicare used to pay a portion of the costs for stays at long-term nursing care facilities, but no longer covers these costs. While the quality of care at these facilities is high, the cost may be prohibitively expensive for families.

Find Nursing Care Facilities

If you are trying to find nursing care for a parent or loved one, we can help. Our directory lists hundreds of nursing care facilities nationwide and can help you find skilled nursing care in your local area. Find Nursing Care Facilities

Written by senior housing staff writer.