Nursing homes should be peaceful, well-equipped places that you or a loved one can stay in when long-term care is needed. Finding quality nursing homes is important because no two facilities are the same.
Some nursing homes are better equipped to handle certain illnesses and injuries than others, while others may have a more peaceful atmosphere or activities that you may enjoy.
A few of the resources that can help you find a nursing home are:
Recommendations are a great way to find a nursing home that fits your loved one's needs. Friends and family can recommend nursing homes that they've visited and liked, and your doctor may be able to suggest local facilities that he or she knows well.
If you ask your doctor if they provide care at a local nursing home, you may be able to continue receiving care from a doctor that:
- You know
- You trust
- Knows your medical history
Asking for recommendations can help you narrow your nursing home choices down from a dozen to just two or three facilities.
Are you in the hospital? If so, when you're discharged, there should be a plan in place. The hospital's social worker should help you find a nursing home that meets your needs.
Hospitals may even be able to help you with the transfer. If you're not in the hospital, then you should start planning your nursing home transition now, while you're still healthy. A former social worker of yours may be willing to assist you.
Senior and Community Activity Center
A senior and community activity center is a great place to find out about your options and learn how to choose a nursing home. They often have:
- A list of local nursing homes
- A list of what each home offers
- Information about the different costs associated with each home
Valuable Resources to Help You with Your Search for a Nursing Home
You put a lot of trust into a nursing home to ensure that you or your loved one's quality of life remains high when receiving care. Florida has a lot of great resources that can help you with your search:
- Elderaffairs.org is an invaluable resource that offers senior health and wellness information for all Florida residents. The resource will assist you in entering different programs for long-term care and can also help with finding a great facility.
- Medicare.gov provides resources that allow you to search for nursing homes by location. You'll be able to compare different homes by their overall rating and also view all contact information for the homes in your area. Ratings are available for health inspections, quality of resident care, and staffing.
- Floridahealthfinder.gov is another great resource that allows you to compare nursing homes by inspection ratings.
These resources can help you find a nursing home that is well-rated.
Paying for a Nursing Home
A major question people have when they're finding quality nursing homes is "how much is this going to cost?" Florida's nursing homes can be very expensive, with costs of $9,000 - $12,000 per month. If you're concerned about paying for nursing home care, you're not alone.
The coronavirus pandemic has also led to a surge in nursing home costs around the country. Costs for Florida nursing home care rose between 1.4% and 5% between 2019 and 2020. Paying for these increased costs should be part of your estate and/or retirement planning.
It's important to know that Medicare will only pay for nursing home care for limited time periods. Medicaid, on the other hand, will pay for nursing home care for as long as you need it.
Medicaid planning involves using legal and ethical strategies to protect your assets so they're not all wasted away on the cost of long-term care. A few strategies that may be used, and this is based on current Medicaid laws, are:
- Transferring assets to a loved one or children in advance of your nursing home needs. Due to the five-year lookback period, it's best to use this strategy as early as possible to reduce the risk of penalties and eligibility being extended.
- Spousal asset transfers will split your assets between you two, and then you have to spend down to $2,000. Spousal annuities may be created where you can transfer money into an annuity that pays out for years to the spouse.
- Spending down on assets, such as putting money into non-countable assets. Pay off your mortgage or spend money on home improvements, modifications or pay off debt.
As Medicaid planning attorneys, we can help you leverage legal and ethical strategies that can be used whether you need care long in the future or tomorrow.
Finding quality nursing homes is a long process, but you owe it to yourself or a loved one to begin the process now. The resources above are a great start for finding a place to call "home" when you or a loved one can no longer care for themselves.