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Nursing Homes and Senior Citizens

Updated on September 17, 2009
Senior Citizen by blackpitshooting
Senior Citizen by blackpitshooting

The term “nursing home” can describe a lot of different institutions to different people. For purposes here, a nursing home is a skilled nursing facility and residential care centers. In general, Medicaid will pay for the care of senior citizens and others in such facilities. This may vary by state.

To be eligible for Medicaid reimbursement, such facilities must meet Federal standards. They must provide physician services, nursing services, rehabilitation services and dietary services. They must develop an activities program for each patient. They must comply with state licensing requirements, and they must conform to all safety standards and construction standards. They must have a transfer agreement with a hospital and maintain good record keeping.

Nursing homes may be certified to participate in Medicaid and Medicare programs or in one or the other. Medicaid funds are a primary source of revenue for nursing homes, accounting for 40% or more of their cash flow.

Nursing home patients are guaranteed certain rights if the home accepts Medicare and Medicaid. These rights include finances, privacy and treatment issues. In addition, many states have established their own patient rights laws for nursing homes. Patients can seek redress for violations they feel have occurred in the facility regarding their rights. Generally, a patient can contact their state's Department of Health to file a complaint against a home they feel is not living up to its responsibilities.

Nursing homes are an important part of the care for many senior citizens, and those citizens or their family should become familiar with just what nursing home can do and especially what they should and must do for the care of an individual and loved one.

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