Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are able to provide almost constant care to residents. They are most appropriate for people needing medical care and close observation due to mental or physical illness, but are no longer ill enough to remain in the hospital.

While we typically think of nursing homes as places for the elderly, they are also commonly used to rehabilitate people after surgery, strokes, or other medical issues after they have been discharged from the hospital.

In a nursing home, nurses and other caretakers are always available to you. There is also a lot of staff that provide rehabilitation services. Physicians are available when needed.

Nursing homes can be rather expensive. In 2023 this ranged from an average monthly cost for a private room of $6,692 in Arkansas to $36,378 in Alaska.

Most offer more affordable shared rooms, range from an average monthly cost of $5,125 in Texas to $31,512 in Alaska. Although shared, but not private, rooms are usually covered by federal Medicare and some other insurances, it is important to check how much of the cost your insurance will cover and how long of a stay they permit. Medicare will only pay the full amount for 20 days, followed by  80% for the next 80 days, and nothing after 100 days. Medicaid will only pay 100% of the cost if the income limits are met.

There may be other restrictions imposed by insurance companies. For example, Medicare will only cover nursing home stays if they begin within 100 days after being discharged from the hospital; although you may choose a nursing home as the setting for your death, being admitted from home is an expensive option if you have not been in the hospital within the last 100 days.

If chosen as a setting for the end of your life, your personal and medical needs will be met, taking the responsibility off you and your family. Family members will not need to be responsible for your day-to-day care or medical treatments or be responsible for arrangements to remove your body. Staff are available to relieve pain, respiratory distress, and other physical responses that can happen before death. Your family may need to request extended visiting hours to  ensure they have access at the time of your death.

Depending on how long you have been there, you may develop a relationship with the staff that may help personalize your death, though they may not have training in palliative care. If you are involved in hospice, they will also guide your care while you are in a nursing home.

Nursing homes can be very busy places that may not be able to provide a peaceful setting to die or allow you to have everything you want around you when you die.

When choosing a nursing home, it is most important to consider the level of comfort and the amount of care provided. Other considerations include the facility, staff, meals, and services.

Click on the download PDF button below for a checklist outlining things you need to consider when choosing a nursing home facility:

Checklist: Questions To Consider When Choosing A Nursing Home. everplans website.