Friday, July 22, 2011

Nursing home

Nursing home, convalescent home, Skilled Nursing Unit (SNU), care home or rest home provides a type of care of residents: it is a place of residence for people who require constant nursing care and have significant deficiencies with activities of daily living[citation needed]. Residents include the elderly and younger adults with physical or mental disabilities. Residents in a skilled nursing facility may also receive physical, occupational, and other rehabilitative therapies following an accident or illness. Residents may have certain legal rights depending on the location of the facility.
In the United States, a "Skilled Nursing Facility" or "SNF" is a nursing home certified to participate in, and be reimbursed by Medicare. Medicare is the federal program primarily for the aged who contributed to Social Security and Medicare while they were employed. A "Nursing Facility" or "NF" is a nursing home certified to participate in, and be reimbursed by Medicaid. Medicaid is the federal program implemented with each State to provide health care and related services to those who are "poor." Each State defines poverty and; therefore, Medicaid eligibility. Those eligible for Medicaid may be aged, disabled or children (e.g. Children's Health Insurance Programs - CHIPs and Maternal-Child wellness and food programs).
Each state licenses its nursing homes, making them subject to the state's laws and regulations. Nursing homes may choose to participate in Medicare and/or Medicaid. If they pass a survey (inspection), they are "certified" and are also subject to federal laws and regulations. All or part of a nursing home may participate in Medicare and/or Medicaid.
In the United States, nursing homes which participate in Medicare and/or Medicaid are required to have licensed practical nurses (LPNs) (in some States designated "vocational nurses" or "LVNs") on duty 24 hours a day. For at least 8 hours per day, 7 days per week, there must be a registered nurse on duty. Nursing homes are managed by a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator. Unlike U.S. nursing there are no standardized training and licensing requirements for administrators, though most states require a Federal License, and many states such as California have their own licensure for administrators. On April 18, 2005 there were a total of 16,094 nursing homes in the United States, down from 16,516 on December 12, 2002.
There are states that have other levels of care offered to elderly and other adults who need assistance and are able to live in the community. For instance, Connecticut has Residential Care Homes or RCH that are licensed by the State Department of Public Health. These homes provide 24-hour supervision and typically offer a more "home-like" environment. Many are actually large homes that have been converted to dwellings that offer a residential community that promotes an independent lifestyle and fosters fellowship with others who need some form of assistance to live in the community.

Services
Services provided in nursing homes include services of nurses, nursing aides and assistants; physical, occupational and speech therapists; social workers and recreational assistants; and room and board. Nursing homes also provide transportation. Most care in nursing facilities is provided by certified nursing assistants, not by skilled personnel. In 2004, there were, on average, 40 certified nursing assistants per 100 resident beds. The number of registered nurses and licensed practical nurses were significantly lower at 7 per 100 resident beds and 13 per 100 resident beds, respectively.
Nursing homes that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs are subject to federal requirements regarding staffing and quality of care for residents. In 2004, 98.5% of the 16,100 nursing facilities nationwide were certified to participate in Medicare, Medicaid, or both.
Medicare covers nursing home services for 20 to 100 days for beneficiaries who require skilled nursing care or rehabilitation services following a hospitalization of at least three consecutive days. The program does not cover nursing care if only custodial care is needed — for example, when a person needs assistance with bathing, walking, or transferring from a bed to a chair. To be eligible for Medicare-covered skilled nursing facility (SNF) care, a physician must certify that the beneficiary needs daily skilled nursing care or other skilled rehabilitation services that are related to the hospitalization, and that these services, as a practical matter, can be provided only on an inpatient basis. For example, a beneficiary released from the hospital after a stroke and in need of physical therapy, or a beneficiary in need of skilled nursing care for wound treatment following a surgical procedure, might be eligible for Medicare-covered SNF care.
SNF services may be offered in a free-standing or hospital-based facility. A freestanding facility is generally part of a nursing home that covers Medicare SNF services as well as long-term care services for people who pay out-of-pocket, through Medicaid, or through a long-term care insurance policy. Generally, Medicare SNF patients make up just a small portion of the total resident population of a free-standing nursing home.
Medicare also covers nursing home care for certain persons who require custodial care, meet a state's means-tested income and asset tests, and require the level-of-care offered in a nursing home. Nursing home residents have physical or cognitive impairments and require 24-hour care.

U.S. Government regulations and oversight
All nursing homes in the United States that receive Medicare and/or Medicaid funding are subject to federal regulations. People who inspect nursing homes are called surveyors or, most commonly, state surveyors. State surveyors may inspect for compliance with licensure (State regulations) and/or certification (Medicare and Medicaid regulations).
The "Mininimum Data Set" assessment (MDS) is part of the U.S. federally mandated process for comprehensive assessment of all residents in Medicare or Medicaid certified nursing homes. The MDS assessment is a screening assessment that forms the basis of a comprehensive assessment of each resident's functional capabilities and helps nursing home staff identify and help residents meet or cope with health and other needs. The MDS also yields "Resource Utilization Groups" (RUGS) which are used for all Medicare reimbursement to SNFs, and is used in many States to set reimbursement for NFs.
For United States SNFs and NFs, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a website which allows users to see how well facilities perform in certain metrics (see "Nursing Home Compare Tool" in the external link section below). CMS also publishes a list of Special Focus Facilities - nursing homes with "a history of serious quality issues. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO), however, has found that state nursing home inspections understate the number of serious nursing home problems that present a danger to residents. The GAO concluded that while CMS oversight has improved, there are still weaknesses in its oversight of nursing homes. A report issued in September 2008 found that over 90% of nursing homes were cited for federal health or safety violations in 2007, with about 17% of nursing homes having deficiencies causing "actual harm or immediate jeopardy" to patients.
SNFs and NFs are subject to federal regulations and also strict state regulations.


Outcome
In Donabedian's model, outcome is assumed to result from processes and processes are assumed to require structures. An outcome may be a facility outcome which indirectly supports direct resident care. An example of an indirect or facility outcome would be supervising and correcting or training staff That changes staff knowledge and skills. Staff applying those new skills is a process which should yield better resident outcomes. Resident outcomes may be classified as physical (death, disease, disability or dysfunction) and psychosocial (discomfort, dissatisfaction). Resident outcomes are usually specified in terms of health, well-being, patient satisfaction, etc. Resident outcomes are usually improved when staff provide and residents experience resident oriented care.

Consumer choices
Current trends are to provide people with significant needs for long term supports and services with a variety of living arrangements. Indeed, research in the U.S. as a result of the Real Choice Systems Change Grants, shows that many people are able to return to their own homes in the community. Private nursing agencies may be able to provide live-in nurses to stay and work with patients in their own homes.
When considering living arrangements for those who are unable to live by themselves, potential customers consider it to be important to carefully look at many nursing homes and assisted living facilities as well as retirement homes, keeping in mind the person's abilities to take care of themselves independently. While certainly not a residential option, many families choose to have their elderly loved one spend several hours per day at an adult daycare center.
Beginning in 2002, Medicare began hosting an online comparison site intended to foster quality improving competition between nursing homes.


Medicare and Medicaid surveys
Federal regulation and inspection (surveying) of SNFs and NFs applies a model of health care quality created for research by Avedis Donabedian in 1965. The model uses the concepts of structure, process and outcome.

Structure
For surveying, structure is the nursing home's resources. That includes staff, their knowledge and skills, policies, procedures, records, equipment, buildings, etc. Structure surveying looks at the instrumentalities of care and their organization.

Process
Process is the nursing home's resources in action. Process surveying looks at the appropriateness, timeliness and quality of care and services in relation to each resident's needs. Process can be organized into 5 kinds of intellectual and physical activities: assessing, planning, implementing (acting), evaluating, and communicating. These activities must be integrated and often occur together. Unfortunately these processes can be task or resident-centered. A task nurse implements a physician ordered-dressing change, perhaps assessing the wound while it is uncovered. A resident-centered nurse would already know if the treatment causes the resident pain and pre-medicated the resident. During the care, she (or he) will talk with the resident about topics they have both shared before, distracting the resident from discomfort and addressing social needs. Communication is heightened when residents feel comfortable discussing various issues with someone who is experienced with their particular case. In this particular situation nurses are also better able to do longitudinal follow up, which insures the implementation of more lasting results.

Trends
In the U.S. a few nursing homes are beginning to change the way they are managed and organized to create a more resident-centered environment, so they are more "home-like" and less institutional or "hospital-like." In these homes, units are replaced with a small set of rooms surrounding a common kitchen and living room. The staff giving care is assigned to one of these "households." Residents have far more choices about when they awake, when they eat and what they want to do during the day. They also have access to more companionship such as pets. Many of the facilities utilizing these models refer to such changes as the "Culture Shift" or "Culture Change" occurring in the Long Term Care, or LTC, industry. Sometimes this kind of nursing home is called a "greenhouse."

User Reviews
In addition to the Medicare Ratings, after the advent of social internet, websites have made it possible for families and seniors to submit user reviews about nursing homes. The largest such a repository of user reviews in the United States can be found in the external links section.

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