When we or our loved ones need to go to a long term care facility (LTC) or a sub acute rehabilitation center (SAR), there are number of factors to consider.
For those not familiar with the acronyms, long-term care facilities (LTCs) are the traditional nursing homes, while sub acute rehabilitation centers (SARs) are the treatment facilities that care for people after they are released from the hospital, often after surgery, such as for a knee replacement. SARs not only offer care, but they also often offer physical therapy. The best time to consider a LTC or SAR is well before one is actually needed in order to allow adequate time to consider the key factors given a resident’s physical condition and care needs.
Various diseases and illnesses affect all of us as we age – like osteoporosis, emphysema, and heart disease – that may require modifications, such as walkers, ramps, and hospital beds. Most of us would rather ignore these physical changes, as addressing them implies that we are recognizing the aging process and our own mortality. However, slips, falls, and other medical events often make us, and our loved ones, realize that our changing health circumstances need to be addressed.
What Needs Should Be Considered When Looking For an LTC or SAR?
Prospective residents should consider the availability of specialized physicians, such as an internist, cardiologist, or geriatrician. Many LTCs now have access to these and many other specialists, so it’s important that the specific needs of residents are considered.
It is also helpful if the facility has a nurse practitioner on staff, and if technological advances such as telemedicine capabilities are offered. Facilities that have affiliations with nursing schools and large hospitals are also beneficial.
Factoring in Cost
Residents and their families need to consider cost early in the process, if at all possible. Early conversations can be beneficial in determining what facility aspects are important, and allowing for residents and their families to collect information about cost and to visit facilities being considered before making a decision.
In addition to reading this article, I’ve also included a checklist for prospective residents and their families to consider, which can be seen here.