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A Guide to Choosing the Best Level of Care for Your Loved One


Submitted by Bettendorf Health Care Center

For many of us, there comes a time when we’re faced with assisting a loved one who needs our help. Whether it’s an elderly parent or a family member that simply can’t go it alone anymore, our job is to assist with making those tough decisions.

When the idea of staying at home is no longer an option, how do you choose the best level of care? There are so many terms floating around out there. Nursing home, long-term care, independent living, assisted living, skilled care — but, which one is right for you? What’s the difference? This article is meant to serve as a guide. A guide to help clear the muddy waters and provide you with the clarity you need to make the best decision for your loved one.

Independent living
Independent Living is basically retirement living. Maybe mom or dad is living at home alone. Really doing fine, but they are starting to have trouble taking care of the house. They are becoming isolated. Independent living is a great option for cutting down on the maintenance and surrounding them with friends. They may enjoy also having prepared meals as well. Independent living should be the option you choose when you simply don’t want to live alone any longer. You are 100 percent independent, but enjoy being surrounded by others, in a safe and happy environment.

Assisted living
Assisted living offers individuals a place to live outside of their own home, where they can receive basic assistance in one or more of the following areas: housekeeping, meal preparation, 24-7 monitoring, shower assistance, toileting, medication assistance or reminders, transportation, dressing, activities, or socialization. Assisted living is a great option for folks that are pretty independent but just might need a little assistance from time-to-time.

Skilled nursing
For those who have recently gone through a surgery or have had an illness, skilled nursing services is a great option. Skilled nursing (also called SNF or “sniff”) provides the help you need to get you through. Admission must be initiated by a physician  who recommends that a patient enter either “rehab care” or a “special care” facility.

Rehab care programs are sometimes called transitional care. They provide intensive medical care for patients who are expected to regain functional capacity and return home in a relatively short amount of time.

Many patients are admitted to skilled nursing to address an acute condition such as rehabilitating a broken hip, or treating an infection with IV antibiotics. The goal of skilled nursing is to get you back to feeling your best and back home as quickly as possible.

Nursing home/long-term care
For those who have had health issues and simply can’t go it alone any longer, there’s long-term care. Many skilled nursing facilities have a portion of their residents who are long-term care patients. These patients require the treatment capabilities of a SNF, yet their condition requires that level of care permanently. Long-term care includes nursing supervision, but is focused on maintenance. Here the patient is not expected to improve, and the nursing activities are focused on keeping the person healthy and safe. The community might even assist the individual in getting to and from doctor appointments. Communities, such as Bettendorf Health Care Center, can provide services like ventilation and IV services and more.

Choosing the level of care that’s right for your loved one can be a daunting task. The good folks at Bettendorf Health Care Center,would like to be your guide through the process. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and caring and can help ease the burden of making a good decision for your loved one.

For more information, call Chrissy Mikles at 563-332-7463 or email to kmikles@mgmhealthcare.com.