SNFs for Long-Term Care: Grocery Stores for Child Care. Hey, why not?!
Nursing homes (skilled nursing facilities or SNFs) are meant for short-term rehabilitation or when a patient requires a skilled care need such as: tracheotomy; naso-gastric tube; gastrostomy; or total care of all ADLs (activities of daily living). Medicare only pays for a certain number of days, and then it becomes private pay. If older adults have money or assets or if immediate family has the money, they will privately pay for the SNF until the money runs out. Once the family funds are depleted, or if a family has no money to privately pay in the first place, Medicaid (MediCal in California) will foot the bill.
What people don’t realize is this: most of the time the older adult does not need to stay in the SNF; even for the amount of time Medicare is willing to pay. If a skilled need is required, the older adult/family can pay for home health at half the cost while living in the comforts of home (Medicare covers home health as well).
SNFs do not care because they want your money! They don’t usually educate families dealing with the burdens of costs; they allow the older adult to “slip” into private pay once Medicare runs out. And they don’t typically encourage the older adult and families to look for another type of care setting in order to save money. Many assisted living care homes are able to handle high levels of care; many have a nurse on staff that is able to monitor high care needs. In most cases, assisted living is half the cost of in-home care; especially for high levels of care which could also require home health.
In Canada, the government is dealing with long-term care of seniors in HOSPITALS; which is where we will end up if we don’t fix the problem of long-term care in SNFs. You think cost of care in a SNF is bad, long-term care in a hospital would run about $1,000 per DAY!
Long-term care is a growing burden if it is being done in a SNF, I agree. But if someone is privately paying for a SNF at $90,000/year and has $500,000 in savings, that money will be gone in about five years. Finding a competent, safe assisted living that can handle the high care needs (which is what CarePatrol does) would cost about $50,000/year; better care would last twice as long compared to dreadful care in a SNF. I say dreadful because SNFs are not MEANT for long-term care, just like hospitals are not meant for long-term care. That’s like saying grocery stores are meant for children’s day care… hey, why not?! There are plenty of snacks and aisles to run around and play in!
Read another article by Amy Blackburn: “Reclaiming Your Relationships: Caring for Loved Ones While Caring for Ourselves”