When To Move From Assisted Living to Nursing Home

David Bolton

/

May 6, 2021

Nursing Homes
When To Move From Assisted Living to Nursing Home | Retire Fearless

The older parents get, the more help they need. Sometimes Assisted Living care isn’t enough anymore. Enter, Nursing Homes, providing additional required care.

Moving a senior from an assisted living facility usually depends on their current living situation. And that is what you need to look out for. It isn’t necessarily an age requirement but as health deteriorates, Nursing homes are more equipped to handle their senior's health and daily needs.

Although moving from assisted living to a nursing home might be challenging, it is the right decision in certain circumstances. There could be a need for round the clock care in the case of declining health. A few situations when you should move your senior to a nursing home include:

When To Move From Assisted Living to Nursing Home
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When your senior is on hospice care

It is possible for residents in assisted living facilities to be in hospital care. However, most people fail to realize that to be placed in hospice care in nothing like the round the clock care offered at a nursing home.

Hospice care might have a nurse available at most three times a week. Under certain circumstances, a resident might require continuous care for a limited period. This could be to get a severe ailment or its symptoms in check.

It is also possible for an individual to be in hospice care and require a lot more care than is possible at the hospice. In certain cases, some families prefer to have their senior placed in a nursing home, particularly one with hospice care availability. When both supports are present, the senior can have both the hospice and nursing home team managing their care.

When the financial resources required to support assisted living are limited

Unfortunately, not everyone has the financial wherewithal to support assisted living or home care. This, however, does not mean that they are unable to go to a nursing home. It is simply that certain requirements have to be met for nursing homes, with the major one being that there has to be a nursing need.

Should your financial limitations enable you to become eligible for Medicaid, then a nursing home might be the most effective choice. Nursing homes have the care that seniors require to remain safe and healthy compared to staying home with little or no care.

In some cases, it's better than moving a senior to an assisted living facility. Certain states conduct Medicaid waiver programs that enable families to move to a nursing home.

When the senior becomes bedbound

Numerous conditions can result in a senior becoming bedbound or bedridden. These conditions usually require the serious involvement of staff. A few of the conditions that cause one to become bed bound are being handicapped, having infections, internal illnesses, mobility issues, pneumonia, general debility, broken bones, recurrent illnesses, and more.

The longer a person remains bedbound, the weaker their body becomes. To take care of a bedbound individual, some of the following tasks will have to be carried out:

  •  Assisting with eating
  • Toileting
  • Grooming, dressing, and bathing
  •  Frequent turning to limit the occurrence of bedsores
  •  Contracture prevention exercises

A senior with swallowing issues or dietary restrictions

In this scenario, a speech evaluation is completed, with a modified diet typically being the recommendation. These modified diets are ultra-specific, and those individuals suffering from swallowing problems might require intense supervision.

This form of monitoring is almost impossible in assisted living facilities, and nursing homes are much more equipped to handle such. This is because nursing homes tend to have specific dining areas designed for those with swallowing issues.

If a senior requires round the clock care

Round the clock care in this scenario means that nursing staff is available 24 hours of the day. This is a policy that assisted living facilities cannot maintain, as while they might have staff nurses, they are typically not equipped or able to provide round the clock care to residents.

 In assisted living facilities, nurses tend to do more care coordination, general medical condition assessment, and medication management. Nurses also conduct the initial admission evaluation for prospective residents.

Nursing home nurses tend to have more responsibilities, beginning with supervising residents' general condition and medical care. It is also their job to coordinate with certified nursing assistants and physicians on this care. The care should also be made in consultation with the senior's family members. Nursing home nurses also need to attend to the following medical needs:

  •  Administering oxygen
  •  Starting IVs
  • Pain management
  •  Checking vital signs
  •  Skin assessments
  •  Blood sugar checks

When the senior has complicated medical needs

Assisted living facilities are not well equipped to handle complicated medical problems. Some medical issues require additional oversight and care. For instance, it might be time to move to a nursing home if your loved one requires medical treatment for any of the following:

  • Infection
  • Diabetes
  •  Antibiotics
  • IV fluids
  •   Injections
  • COPD
  •   Lung or heart conditions
  • Cancer
  •  Wound care
  • Respiratory care
  • Mobility issues
  • 2-person assistance

Numerous assisted living communities turn away individuals that require two people to assist when transferring and walking. If your senior has gotten to this point, the assisted living facility might recommend a nursing home. This refusal has to do with the fact that certain states require a resident to be able to evacuate an assisted living facility with little to no help in case of an emergency.

For some other facilities, a limited number of staff members can conduct a two-person assist. Doing so might take away another resident's care for the time being, which could be unsustainable and unsafe.

When the assisted living facility is not providing sufficient care

Additionally, it could also be that the assisted living facility is not providing the quality or type of care required, then you will have to find a nursing home that is licensed and skilled for your loved one.

A nursing home can tailor and coordinate the appropriate care for the senior. The staff can monitor their vital signs and health, provide restorative programs and physical therapy, manage their medications, and more in a manner that ensures the dignity of your senior.

When your loved one has severe Alzheimer's

Severe neurological issues such as end-stage Alzheimer's can be difficult for assisted living facilities to manage. Certain functional conditions and behaviors are better managed in a nursing home. It is estimated that about 65% of the seniors in nursing homes suffer from dementia.

Due to the deteriorating nature of Alzheimer's, an individual's ability to function mentally and physically deteriorates. Below are a few of the widespread symptoms associated with dementia:

  • Self-harm behavior
  •  Aggressive behavior towards others
  • Significant disorientation and confusion
  • Wandering
  • Refusing care
  • Maximum assistance with eating, dressing, grooming, and bathing

These are scenarios that nursing homes are well equipped to handle. The staff not only has the ability but the skill to manage, monitor, and help those who have dementia.

When the senior begins to spend more time in the hospital

If your loved one happens to spend more time in the hospital, it might be time for them to be in a nursing home. Being discharged and admitted repeatedly can be quite stressful for a senior. And while it is necessary at that very moment, it does not always result in positive outcomes.

A few of the reasons a senior is frequently hospitalized is due to recurrent infections, frequent surgeries, deterioration of chronic medical ailments, or the general inability to rehabilitate. Typically, in such cases, care from a nursing home is adequately designed to help stabilize them without the stress and strain of repetitive hospital stays.

Once your parents, older family members or friends are aging so much that they can’t function as healthy adults anymore, you should be more intentional about them. At these periods of their lives, they are prone to health issues and even accidents and you should start counting down to when it becomes absolutely necessary to move them from the assisted living facility to a nursing home.

About THE AUTHOR

David Bolton

With multiple family members currently in senior living facilities, David is in the trenches every week, learning the ins and outs of nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, and general senior living.

Read more about David Bolton

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