Long Term Care-Alternatives to a Nursing Home

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I don’t want to go to a nursing home. What are some other choices?
There are many home and community based services available to help people stay at home. You may be able to stay at home with home health or stay at home and go daily to adult day care or move to a retirement home or assisted living facility. Your area Agency on Aging can provide information to help you decide what you need and review the services that are available in your area. If you cannot locate your local Agency on Aging see: http://chfs.ky.gov/dail/AreaAgenciesonAging.htm

How do I pay for these other services?
The government pays for some of the programs, and many are private (which means you would have to pay). People who are eligible for Medicaid may be able to get services under the Medicaid “waivered services program.” Medical services and some non-medical services such as home modification are available under this program.

What kind of services can I get at home?
"At home" services that are available in some areas include: You should ask for qualifications and references from any service provider before you have them into your home.

What if I need more care than I can get at home?
If you determine that you will need more care than you can get in your home, you can consider moving to one of the following:
  1. Retirement Facility. Residents must be totally independent. Special services may be provided such as meals in central dining area, light housekeeping, pull-cords with available staff around-the-clock. Most people drive, but some transportation is usually offered along with planned activities. These facilities offer no health care services and are not required to be licensed or certified.
  2. Assisted Living. This provides minimal assistance in care, such as providing meals, laundry, helping with baths, and reminding you to take medications. Residents are physically able to manage their own needs with occasional help. While some residents drive, scheduled transportation may be provided. Daily activities are organized and there is around-the-clock supervison. No health care is provided and these facilities are not licensed, but certification is required. See http://chfs.ky.gov/dail/ALC.htm
  3. Personal Care Home (sometimes confused with a nursing home or a nursing facility level of care). Personal Care offers residents minimal assistance for bathing, grooming, toileting, and dressing. The resident must be able to move around (even if in a wheechair or scooter). Some health care is provided and medications are given. Personal Care Homes must be licensed.
  4. Nursing/Rehabilitation Healthcare Facility (commonly referred to as a nursing home or a nursing facility). This provides nursing care, administration of medications, special diets, treatment, and perhaps rehabilitative and restorative therapy under a doctor's order.

A facility can be licensed to provide both Personal Care and Nursing/Rehab Care.

If you are thinking about entering a Personal Care Home or Nursing Home, you will need to discuss your care needs with your physician.

Reviewed August 2009