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The dynamics in human health with age and exposure to risk factors such as accidents influence the ability of humans to be independent and manage to care for themselves. At some point, it becomes necessary for individuals to seek specialized care offering personal services, psychological services and housing services in a attempt to extend the patient’s life while alleviating the quality of their life too. The facilities include nursing homes and adult assisted living homes. Much as these facilities save a somewhat similar purpose, they develop characteristics that set them apart.
Nursing homes are primarily specialized facilities that host patients requiring nursing care or rehabilitation service around the clock. A majority of the nurses in these facilities are certified nursing assistants who work under supervision of the licensed personnel. The facilities host people of all ages despite a majority being elderly individuals who are attended to by registered nurses and licensed practiced nurses. The facilities are necessitated by a situation where the patients have considerably low levels of independence and lack caregivers to facilitate home care. The facilities are regulated by state licensure which vary from state to state and federal certifications.
Assisted living facilities are indifferent form nursing homes in that they offer long term care for individuals who do not necessarily require specialized nursing care but need supportive and custodial care (Young & Kroth, 2017). Adult homes fall in this category. They are used to host aged individuals who are healthy but limited in their capacity to conduct housekeeping, cooking and household maintenance tasks. The facility provides 24 hours oversight of these individuals while constraining services to offering reminders to take medication, assistance in grooming, laundry and mobility within the facility. State regulations on these facilities varies according to size of the facility and is not standardized across board. Customers are thus able to get a variety of services for the price they are willing to pay.
Choosing between nursing home care and assisted living for a loved one, which requires residential care, is a difficult decision faced by many families. The difference between nursing home care and assisted living is that nursing homes provide medical and personal care in a clinical setting, while assisted living provides personal care in a social home setting.
A Medicare and Medicaid certified skilled nursing facility (SNF) is defined as “a facility or party other than one primarily dedicated to providing skilled nursing care and related services for individuals requiring medical, nursing, or rehabilitative services.” or under the direct supervision of licensed nurses, such as registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, with an emphasis on providing 24-hour nursing care and the availability of other types of services.
Nursing home residents can be of any age, although they are adults in their later years. Decreased ability to function independently and lack of family caregivers are additional factors associated with an increased risk of admission to a nursing home.
Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) are suitable for the long-term care of people who do not require skilled nursing services and whose needs are more in the realm of custody and support. The key components are our 24-hour supervision, housekeeping services, provision of at least two meals a day, and personal assistance with at least two of the following: bathing, dressing, medication.
Assisted living facilities vary in size from few residents to several hundred. They can be small or large houses with only a few residents or multi-unit apartment complexes with multiple residents.
In 2015 about 1.3 million U.S. adults lived in about 15,600 skilled nursing facilities. That same year, there were approximately 29,000 licensed assisted living facilities in the U.S., with about 800,000 residents.
Nursing homes are, essentially, places that provide 24/7 medical care and assistance to elderly people who are quite helpless and suffering from one or more chronic ad debilitating illness, Nurses are always on staff, and medical care is the primary focus of daily activities. Food is provided in a cafeteria, and residents do not live independently.
Assisted Living communities, on the other hand, are designed for seniors who are no longer able to live or function on their own optimally or safely, but who do not require the high level of medical care and supervision of a nursing home. Paid for by private individuals, assisted living facilities seek to foster and sustain their residents’ independence as long as possible. Depending on the location, they may offer meals, nursing services, and even community events.
As a residential service with 24-hour care, nursing homes remain the most costly option for long-term institutional care, with fees now approaching and some even exceeding $100,000/year. Most of those costs are covered by the Medicaid program. In contrast, most assisted residents pay from their own financial resources, although 41 states offer waiver programs that allow low-income residents to live in assisted living.
Nursing homes are generally regulated by the federal government, while assisted living facilities are regulated by the states. In a sign that assisted living facilities are caring for more complex residents, at least half of the 50 states updated their assisted living regulations by 2018.
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