6 Biggest Myths About Skilled Nursingadmin
When an older person can no longer live an independent life, their safest and most practical options include at-home care from skilled nurses or moving into a skilled nursing facility. Unfortunately, the stress of this decision can make it very difficult, especially on loved ones who are already overwhelmed and confused. If you’re struggling with feelings of guilt, fear, or anxietybecause your loved one depends on you, it’s important to separate the myths from the facts in order to make an informed decision about their future.
Skilled nursing is a calling that attracts compassionate and dedicated healthcare professionals. However, if you don’t have any personal experience with the profession, you may have outdated ideas about nursing patients’ quality of life. Learn why the following six myths are completely untrue, and how you and your family could benefit from keeping an open mind regarding skilled nursing facilities.
Myth #1: Living in a Skilled Nursing Facility is Like Staying at the Hospital
Skilled nursing facilities aren’t synonymous with hospice centers or hospitals. They offer rehabilitative care for short-term patients and preventative care for permanent residents, so sterile medical equipment and medically trained staff members are always on hand. However, acute and contagious conditions are usually treated off-site, and skilled nursing facilities have fewer restrictions â€“ and more opportunities for stimulation and socialization â€“ than hospitals. Visiting hours aren’t limited to specific windows of time, and a consistent community of permanent residents provides a sense of stability and comradery.
Myth #2: Skilled Nursing Patients are Lonely and Bored
We understand why so many family members are hesitant to consider skilled nursing facilities for their parents and grandparents. They don’t want their loved ones to feel abandoned or alone, and nursing home myths often involve older people alone in wheelchairs. At today’s skilled nursing facilities like Generations Healthcare, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Patients often share rooms and form relationships with their roommates, and facilities also encourage socialization to keep residents active and instill a sense of community. In fact, skilled nursing facility residents have social opportunities that aren’t available to older people who live alone or with younger caregivers. Classes, communal dining spaces, and group outings with peers are just a few examples.
Myth #3: Skilled Nursing Facilities are Dirty and Smelly
From annual Medicare inspections to daily visits from vendors and visitors, there’s no shortage of outside accountability in skilled nursing facilities. These facilities are healthcare centers that must meet rigorous health and safety standards to stay in business, as well as federal and local requirements to receive funds and accreditation.
Nurses and other staff members are also committed to maintaining a high quality of life for patients and personnel alike. At good skilled nursing facilities, unsanitary situations are cleaned up as soon as possible for the safety of patients, staff, and visitors.
Myth #4: Skilled Nursing Involves the Use of Force and Physical Restraint
If your loved one is reluctant to give up their independence, the idea of forcing them to stay in a nursing home is unthinkable. However, there’s a big difference between constant supervision and actual physical restraint. If your loved one finds an inviting facility with plenty of social opportunities and stimulating activities, they won’t want to “escape”; they’ll be home. But even if they do become restless or agitated, they definitely won’t be held down against their will. Physical restraint is almost nonexistent in today’s nursing homes, and mechanical restraints are only used for rehabilitative purposes.
Myth #5: Medicare will Cover the Cost of Skilled Nursing
Insurance companies make clear distinctions between short-term and long-term care. Unfortunately, extended stays at skilled nursing facilities often fall outside the terms of coverage. Medicare only offers 100 percent coverage for the first 20 days, and even this coverage is only available for patients who were transferred after staying in a hospital for at least three days. After the 20th day, Medicare recipients must pay daily copayments. Make sure you check your insurance policy very clearly and understand your payment options before arranging a stay at a skilled nursing facility.
Myth #6: Residents Have No Privacy or Autonomy
After your loved one checks into a skilled nursing facility, they’ll give up some perks of an independent lifestyle, but that won’t include their rights to privacy or self-protection. All skilled nursing patients are protected by a patient’s bill of rights, which includes the right to know about all medications and treatments they receive. Residents may also choose whether to live with a roommate, and no staff members will open a closed door or pull aside a curtain without giving proper notification first.
Of course, it’s important to understand that everyone has your loved one’s best interests at heart. You and your loved one won’t need to fight to assert their rights to dignity, privacy, or respect. Skilled nurses are trained and qualified to handle more sensitive, complicated tasks than other nurses, but they’ve also chosen to devote their careers to older patients. They understand the emotional and physical obstacles your loved one may face, and they work hard to empower and protect their patients.
As you consider options for your loved one, don’t let lies and myths affect this life-changing decision. Your parent or grandparent still has a chance to lead a fulfilled, active life for years to come. Their next dream home just might be a skilled nursing facility.