Wisconsin is known throughout the United States as being a place of beauty. With access to a growing business sector, the Great Lakes, enthralling forests and rolling hills, Wisconsin has much to offer people of any age. Seniors living in Wisconsin are blessed with a state government that takes their needs seriously and is looking out for them and for their families. With medical care like the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, which is a nationally top ranked hospital in Geriatric medicine, and Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center, which is a nationally top ranked cardiology hospital, seniors are sure to find the care they require .
Nursing Homes in Wisconsin Defined
Wisconsin nursing homes should not be confused with assisted living facilities. Nursing homes are specialized facilities that are dedicated to the care of senior resident's emotional, mental and physical well-being on a 24 hour, 7 day a week basis. Unlike assisted living facilities, nursing homes in Wisconsin are staffed with a full complement of board certified physicians, licensed nurses and dieticians, as well as a full complement of housekeeping employees, social services professionals and volunteers. Seniors and family members seeking full-time, long-term care for their loved ones should be aware that assisted living facilities are not equipped to handle the needs of elderly persons who are unable to care for themselves.
Regulation of Wisconsin Nursing Homes
Wisconsin nursing homes are regulated by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Division of Quality Assurance. Their job is to ensure the safety, health and well-being of those receiving care in health facilities in Wisconsin. There are several different agencies that work in concert with the Department of Health services to that end, including CMS (Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services), the Office of Plan Review and Inspections (OPRI), the Bureau of Nursing Home resident Care (BNHRC) and the Bureau of Education Services & Technology (BEST).
Wisconsin's goal is to see to the uppermost standards of care for all residents of their care facilities, including nursing homes. To that end the BNHRC assumes the responsibility of routinely making unannounced health care surveys of all intermediate care facilities and nursing homes in the state. The purpose of these surveys is to monitor these facilities and ensure they are following the state and federally mandated rules and regulations regarding the appropriate administration of nursing homes and other care facilities in Wisconsin. The BNHRC is also responsible for conducting investigations of complaints regarding regulation violations. All nursing home facilities must maintain an active license provided by the Department of Health Services in accordance with DHS 132.
Paying for Nursing Homes in Wisconsin
The reasons the costs vary are many but include location of the nursing facility, size of the facility and the specific needs and preferences of the resident. State licensed facilities are eligible for Medicaid and/or Medicare reimbursement and as such, families seeking information regarding financial assistance should contact the Wisconsin Department of Health Services or local nursing home facilities directly for information.
Additional Information on Wisconsin Nursing Homes
The state of Wisconsin takes elder care very seriously and has provided a wealth of information and resources for seniors and their loved ones at the DHS website. Seniors and their families can find links to helpful resources that include information on how to select the proper facility, the rights of nursing home residents, how to exercise rights, links to the Board on Aging and Long Term Care, the National Citizen's Coalition for Nursing Home Reform and much more. Consumers may find the consumer information reports and nursing home citation informational links useful as well.
Families of aging loved ones may also be interested to learn of the Wisconsin Health Care Association. This is a non-profit organization dedicated to the representation, protection and advancement of the interests of long-term care provider community and residents. Concerned families and seniors may find helpful resources and connections by perusing their web page at www.whca.com.
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