Today’s Nursing Homes

If you are like most people, when you hear the words “nursing home’ you tend to cringe.  The thought of a stereo-typical nursing home may bring feelings of sadness, sympathy or fear depending on each individuals perception. Those perceptions are re-inforced by the horror stories reflected in media reports about those who have been abused or neglected while in nursing homes.

While there are cases of abuse in nursing homes, the vast majority of them are not only safe but offer innovative rehabilitation and long-term care services with great success.

The Old Stereotypes

wheel chairI am sure you have heard that nursing homes referred to as a warehouse for old people, or a place where people go to live out their final days.  You may have also heard a senior citizen say that “they are too young for a nursing home”. While these old stereotypes may have been true in the past they are far from the truth now.

Today’s nursing homes are bustling health care centers offering short-term services like sub-acute rehabilitation and transitional care services. True most nursing homes still offer long-term care services as well but offered in a setting that reminds one more of a resort than a health care center.

Nursing Homes are also places where younger people go to get short-term medical care.  According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control, about 20% of nursing home admissions are people under the age of 65.

Helping Patients Get Home

In today’s health care system, patients are often first exposed to nursing homes as a place to go for extended rehabilitation.  With the cost of inpatient hospital care on the rise, hospitals and insurance providers are always looking for cost efficient ways to provide therapy services.

While hospitals still offer inpatient rehabilitation services, they often refer patients with less fragile medical conditions to sub-acute centers for physical rehabilitation. The term “sub acute” refers to the level of care nursing centers offer to patients who are considered short-term.  Patients utilize sub acute centers for recovering from surgery, stroke, heart conditions or generalized weakness caused by a prolonged hospital stay.  A sub acute stay lasts between 7 and 60 days, most insurances offer coverage up to 100 days depending on the progress shown in therapy treatments.  After the stay is completed patients are then discharged home with home care services.

Resort Style Amenities

The Baby Boomer generation is changing the health care industry just have they have changed every other service or product they have consumed in their lifetimes.  In the case of nursing homes, Baby Boomers are demanding more resort style amenities in nursing centers.

Private rooms, better menu choices, and access to technology are just some of the services nursing homes have added over the years to meet demand. Nursing homes have also taken to including more recreation options such as movie theatres, chapels and rec rooms to give them the competitive edge.


Care at a nursing home can be covered by insurance but usually only for short-term stays. Medicare and traditional third party insurances usually only cover nursing home care for sub-acute services.  Long-term care in a nursing home can be covered by Medicaid but only for those financially eligible. Otherwise a long-term stay at a nursing home is usually out-of-pocket.

Playing Their Role

Nursing Homes have an important role in today’s senior health care system. The physical rehabilitation services they provide save the healthcare system money and increase the chances of a better outcome when recovering from an extended illness. They also provide a safe place for millions of Americans suffering from chronic illness to live and receive high quality nursing care.

That said they aren’t for everyone and only suitable placement options for those with medical necessity for their services.  When you or your loved one is faced with the prospect of admissions to a nursing home explore all the options available to make sure you find the right type of nursing home for your unique care needs.

For more information or questions about this post email

About Tony Fischer

As an advocate for elders and their families, Tony has experience in the entire healthcare continuum. He has worked in hospitals, nursing homes, home care, hospice, and non-profits. His vast and unique experience led him to become a consultant that helps clients navigate the senior healthcare system. Tony also works hand and hand with healthcare providers to improve and streamline customer service. The company he founded with his wife Lori, Elder Advocacy Group Inc, advocates for seniors and senior health issues. They do this through the innovative concepts of Life Care Planning and Elder Care Coordination. Through these concepts Tony is able to help elders and their families plan to age successfully on their terms by protecting their right to choose the healthcare services they want provided in the place they want it. Tony shares his talents with other senior advocacy groups like the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council where he advises a non-profit serving seniors in Wayne County, Michigan. He also produces FREE online content for seniors and their families