Many people assume that once you go into a nursing home, you don’t come out anytime soon. However, many people prefer to stay at home—and some feel strongly that they don’t want to end their days in nursing home care. The good news is that it is possible to transition from nursing home care—needed after an injury or illness, for example—back to the home. However, it often takes some logistical planning to make a move home possible. Here are a few things you’ll need to consider in preparation for a move back to the home.
A plan for in-home care
Know what your needs are—and how to get them met. Research in-home care providers—know what level of care you’ll need, from qualified nursing care to assistance with activities of daily living or occasional help running errands or completing chores.
If you’re planning to hire someone to help you in the home, plan for how to pay for it. Medicare covers some kinds of skilled nursing care, but not providers of Activities of Daily Living—and there’s a specific definition of that—while private health insurance usually doesn’t cover in-home care at all. Long-term care insurance can help you make up gaps in coverage, though, and some states have LTC partnership programs that allow qualified policyholders to access Medicaid funding when those plans run out.
Staying in a nursing home isn’t the first choice for a large number of people. However, many are forced to stay—because they simply cannot get their needs met at home.
Many people are forced to move out of their homes because the homes have been built for younger, healthy owners with no mobility problems. It’s unrealistic to expect to be able to maneuver safely in a home that hasn’t been changed to accommodate you. Consider making small, affordable changes—such as installing handrails in the bathroom or moving to a downstairs bedroom—while you explore the possibility of a more extensive remodeling project.
A network of friends and family
Even if you know you’ll need to get paid in-home care, you’ll have a higher quality of life if you have a network of friends and family who can look out for you. Before leaving the health care facility, contact a few close people you trust—and let them know your situation. What you ask for depends on you—whether it’s occasional help with chores and errands or just companionship or availability in case of an emergency. But be sure trusted friends and family know you’re coming home and what kind of possible help you’ll need.
Support from the community
Many retirement communities have free services for seniors—including help with errands and chores, transportation help, and free information services. Check with your community to see what services might be available in your area—and know the needs you’ll have when you get out of the nursing home.
Support from the health care facility
Your health care facility should have a staff of social workers who can make your transition easier. These social workers can serve as advocates for your transition—helping you get the changes made that you need to make a transition back home possible. Some social workers can go as far as to arrange home remodeling projects to allow for greater maneuverability in the house. Check with your nursing home to see what services are available.
Staying in a nursing home isn’t the first choice for a large number of people. However, many are forced to stay—because they simply cannot get their needs met at home. Whether or not a transition back home is possible for you depends on your individual situation—but with some planning and consideration, it’s much more likely to be possible.