What is the difference between a skilled nursing home and an assisted living facility?
The skilled nursing or long-term care home provides nursing care and many activity of daily living needs such as bathing, dressing or eating. An assisted living community might provide some assistance in activities of daily living, but not skilled care. Assisted living facilities will vary in the services provided.

Will Medicare pay for my skilled nursing facility stay?
Medicare will pay after a 3 day qualified stay in a hospital as long as it occurs within 30 days of that hospitalization. It covers the first 20 days in full, but then requires a co-payment of $137.50 per day until the 100th day.

How do you handle problems with the facility?
In non serious situations document the incident and speak with the person involved in a professional manner. If you cannot resolve the issue go to the next level including the supervisor, department head and administrator. You should call the local long-term care ombudsman's office if necessary. In serious circumstances, such as alleged abuse, you should document, report to the ombudsman's office or state health department and go directly to the administrator. You must insure that the resident is removed from further potential harm during any investigation.

How can I evaluate the quality of care of a specific home?
Visit the home and observe how the residents look. Review the facilities most recent health department survey which should be readily available to the public. Visit www.nursinghomecompare.com.

  Nursing Home Confidential can be used as a practical guidebook to assist the reader in navigating the often difficult process of placing a loved one.
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  Sharon Murphy talks about her new book Nursing Home Confidential and how to navigate the nursing home industry (Jan. 7, 2010).
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