When Should Your Parent Move into Skilled Nursing?
As a child, you probably thought your parents were invincible. As an adult, you’re likely learning that’s not quite the case. Grappling with the realization can be especially poignant if you’re in the role of caregiver for a parent whose health is declining and you’re contemplating questions like when to consider skilled nursing. There’s no magic formula to tell you when your parent’s needs exceed what you can provide on your own (or with the help of other family members nearby). However, understanding your options can help you feel more confident about when to consider skilled nursing and recognize how acting sooner than later can positively affect your loved one’s quality of life.
What Is Skilled Nursing?
If your loved one needs ongoing medical care that doesn’t warrant hospitalization, a skilled nursing facility is often a good alternative. Skilled nursing provides around-the-clock care that must be performed by licensed health professionals. Skilled nursing may be short-term or long-term, depending on your loved one’s condition and prognosis. For example, a parent who is recovering from a hospital stay due to surgery or an illness may rely on a skilled nursing community until they return to a baseline level of independence. Conversely, if your loved one has a chronic medical condition like diabetes or congestive heart failure that requires close monitoring, skilled nursing may be a longer-term solution. Within a skilled nursing community, residents receive ongoing medical care along with any assistance they need completing activities of daily living like bathing, grooming and eating. If your loved one’s care plan calls for therapy, they can also access those services, along with medication and pain management. Recognizing that physical health is just one aspect of wellness, many skilled nursing communities (including Lake Port Square) encourage residents to participate in activities that foster socialization and encourage them to remain active and engaged. Activities are generally adapted as needed to match residents’ personal abilities and interests.
Signs Skilled Nursing Can Help
In some cases, your loved one’s physician or care team may recommend you start thinking about skilled nursing. Other times, you may need to look for clues about when to consider skilled nursing. Here are some common signs it might be time for your loved one to move into a skilled nursing community:
Recent medical issues
Skilled nursing is a common transition point for older adults following an emergent scenario like a hospitalization, but moving to skilled nursing can also stabilize a loved one’s health if complications arise due to a chronic condition. With a care plan in place tailored to each resident’s unique needs, skilled nursing can significantly improve an older adult’s quality of life.
Need for regular daily care
Many different conditions and diagnoses require ongoing care, therapy or treatments. When it’s impractical or cost-prohibitive to administer this care from home, you may recognize this is when to consider skilled nursing. Examples include wound care, intravenous therapy and vital signs monitoring.
Difficulty managing medications
Seniors, and especially those with multiple health conditions, can have lengthy medication lists. Keeping all the doses and timing straight can easily exceed a parent’s abilities, and mismanaging medications can have serious health consequences. If your loved one is struggling to manage their prescriptions, more support may be in their best interests. You may be able to hire someone to help in the home or get help with medications in assisted living, but more complex medication management and medication problems combined with other skilled needs could be signals about when to consider skilled nursing.
As a caregiver, you’re probably used to putting your parent’s needs first. However, some care is simply beyond your abilities. Risking injury to help your loved one means you could both end up reliant on others. What’s more, consistently sacrificing your wants and needs can take a toll on your own mental health, which can ultimately affect your physical health, too. It’s possible to continue acting as a caregiver and advocate while enlisting support through a skilled nursing community.
Start Exploring Options Early
As a caregiver of an aging parent whose health is slipping, you’ll probably ask yourself again and again when to consider skilled nursing. If you’ve begun asking the question, it’s not too early to start researching options for skilled nursing in your area. That way, if your loved one’s health takes a turn, you won’t find yourself making hasty decisions during an already stressful time. Located in the Central Florida area, Lake Port Square offers advanced care to help protect your loved one’s health and quality of life. Contact us to learn more about our highly personalized approach to senior care and the array of services and amenities we offer along with 24-hour skilled nursing care.