Tuesday, May 10, 2011
By Mr. Noah Kaminer, Administrator
One of the scariest prospects seniors face as they age is the possibility that at some point, they may need to leave their own home to live in a nursing home or residential rehabilitative facility — either temporarily or permanently.
Fortunately, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers have changed drastically over the past decade – and unequivocally for the better. With seniors living substantially longer, fuller, and richer lives, they have also become more demanding and discerning consumers. Therefore, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers have been forced to evolve and raise the bar to meet these increasing demands. Renovations and new construction are now common and increasingly facilities feel more like homes and hotels, with wifi Internet access, flexible therapy schedules and elaborate meal choices. Many facilities boast large private rooms with bathrooms, huge state of the art therapy gyms, concierge services and even cafe-style eateries. They have become pleasurable options where one can receive a full range of medical, social, and rehabilitation services in a comfortable, and sometimes even lavish, home like environment.
Nursing homes and rehabilitation centers are, however, not only used by seniors or the elderly — they are frequently used by people recovering from prolonged illness and/or surgeries. Generally, there are three primary reasons why people need nursing homes or residential rehabilitation facilities. First, a person may no longer be able to live by his or herself and their medical conditions require intensive medical care and supervision. Whether they have dementia or Alzheimer’s or need medical management of chronic conditions, a nursing home facility can provide medical care and attention 24 hours a day while also giving the resident the chance to socialize with other people and participate in interesting activities.
Second, a person may have had a prolonged hospital stay or have sustained an injury or ailment which requires intensive physical, speech and/or occupational therapies to relearn how to use his or her body. The residential rehabilitation facilities provide 24 hour care coupled with customized intensive therapies designed to help the resident recover and return back into their community with greater independence. Whether it’s providing postoperative rehabilitation for knee or hip joint replacement, rehabilitation for a heart attack or stroke victim, or rehabilitation for someone suffering from traumatic brain injury, the intensive therapies received in the facility are intended to expedite the resident’s return home.
Finally, a person may have been discharged from the hospital, yet may not be capable of returning home and may need intensive medical support and therapies to aid recovery. This type of care, called sub-acute care, generally provides more intensive care to the patient until the condition is stabilized and they can either return home or to place with a lower level of care. Patients who benefit from this intensive sub-acute care range from those who need wound care, to those who need IV care, to those who have a tracheotomy, to those who have a feeding tube, to those who need dialysis, to those who are on a ventilator or respirator. Nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities provide comprehensive teams of medical professionals, including physicians, physical and occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, dietitians, nurses and social workers who all work together to formulate a plan of care for the resident, to return them safely back into their home community or help them adjust to another long-term care programs.
Ten years ago, no one really wanted to be in a nursing home or rehabilitation center and truthfully, no one really wants to be in one today. However, if you, your spouse, your parent, or even your child, need the medical services, therapies, or 24 hour supervision provided by one of these facilities, at least your mind can now rest assured conjuring up the image of professionalism, warm care – and maybe even luxury.
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