Nursing Home Services

The types of services offered in nursing homes vary. While visiting potential nursing homes for yourself or a loved one, make sure you find out what services are offered and any additional costs that may be associated with them. It is important that the nursing home have adequate facilities to meet your needs or the needs of your loved one. These services, ranging from short-term to long-term stays, may include the following:

  • Alzheimer's Unit
  • Chronic Care
  • Dementia Unit
  • Dialysis
  • Head Trauma
  • HIV/AIDS Care
  • Hospice Care
  • Huntington's Disease
  • Mental Health Services
  • Nutritional Services
  • Physical Therapy and Other Rehabilitative Services
  • Post-Acute Care
  • Ventilator Unit/Respiratory Care

Many different types of health care professionals work in nursing homes in order to provide treatment for residents' needs. Before choosing a nursing home, it is important to find out what type of staff members are employed there. These may include:

Nursing homes may employ primary care physicians who specialize in internal or general medicine. These doctors are responsible for the medical care of the resident in the nursing home.

A registered nurse (RN) is a licensed professional who provides health care under the direction of a physician. These nurses usually manage the resident's overall care plan in the nursing home.

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) can perform simple as well as complex medical procedures, and operates under the supervision of either a registered nurse (RN) or a physician.

Certified nursing personnel provide direct care to the resident related to their daily activities, such as personal hygiene, grooming, eating, and toileting.

Dentists examine and treat residents in the home on a regular basis to ensure good oral and dental care.

Dietitians are health care professionals who monitor the nutritional status of residents. At a minimum, they possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited education program and have completed an internship at a health care institution, such as a hospital or nursing home. They are usually registered by the American Dietetic Association.

Speech therapists are involved in rehabilitation related to the development and disorders of speech, voice, swallowing, and language. This can be helpful for nursing home residents with Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease, as well as residents who have suffered a stroke.

Physical therapists are health care professionals who evaluate and treat people with health problems resulting from injury or disease. They usually possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited education program and must pass a state-administered national exam. Physical therapists can help residents who have undergone surgery or suffered a fracture regain their strength and mobility.

Occupational therapists evaluate and assist nursing home residents in regaining the maximum level of function with regard to a specific disability. They are licensed health care professionals.

Recreational therapists provide treatment services and recreation activities to individuals with disabilities or illnesses. Treatment services utilize leisure activities to diminish or eliminate disabling conditions. The recreational therapist may use a variety of techniques, including arts and crafts, animals, sports, games, dance and movement, drama, music, and community reintegration outings. They are certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation.

Social workers are responsible for addressing residents' psychosocial concerns. This /includes mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, dementia, and delirium, as well as a range of other issues, including loss of relationships, loss of personal control and identity, and adjustment to the facility. Nursing homes with more than 120 beds are required to employ a full-time social worker with at least a bachelor’s degree in social work or “similar professional qualifications.” Facilities with 120 beds or fewer must still provide social services, but do not need to have a full-time social worker on staff.

Medical specialists are consultants who are experts in a field of medicine, such as cardiologists or psychiatrists. They evaluate nursing home residents and make recommendations to the primary care physician about providing the best possible care for the resident.

Many nursing homes offer special services. When you are deciding on a facility, select several nursing homes to visit that will offer the services you are looking for. If possible, include your loved one in the selection process and consider their opinion and input during the decision making.