Category Archives: Nursing Homes

Nursing Home? Rest Home? Assisted Living? Making Sense of Housing Options

There are several types of housing available to older and frail people in Massachusetts. Sometimes the different names can be confusing. I have outlined below three of the most common types.

Nursing Home: A nursing home is licensed by the Department of Public Health. It provides 24 hour care for people – either those receiving long term care or people who are rehabilitating from a hospital stay. If you fell and broke your hip, after your stay at the hospital you may be admitted to a nursing home for physical therapy before returning home. Nursing homes also provide care for people with physical or neurological disabilities. They provide nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and assistance with personal care such as bathing, dressing and eating. Nursing homes also have activity programs and social services. They are sometimes called skilled nursing facilities.  Nursing homes can be paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, long term care insurance or privately by the patient depending on the circumstances.

Rest Home: A rest home is also licensed by the DPH and provides 24 hour supervision to people who need some assistance but do not require nursing or medical care. A rest home provides housing, meals, activities and medical management but would not routinely provide help with personal care. A stay at a rest home may be paid for by the resident, or in come cases through the SSI program. The Veterans Administration may also provide payment in some cases.

Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities provide housing with a combination of personal care and household assistance. The facility may charge an additional fee if the resident would like more help with things. The majority of assisted living is paid for privately by the resident, although some long term care insurance policies may provide coverage as well. An assisted living facility tends to look more like an apartment building than a medical facility, and is not staff by medical personal 24 hours a day.  There may be a nurse on duty during the day, with nursing assistants on staff at night. The majority of assisted living is paid for privately by the resident, although some long term care insurance policies may provide coverage as well.

The type of housing that is right for a person depends on their medical needs and their finances. You should always try to visit a facility before making the choice and ask questions about their services, fees and payment policies.

Your Help Needed to Support New Legislation to Maintain Finanical Security for Seniors

I am a member of the Public Policy Committee of the Massachusetts Chapter of The National Academy of  Elder Law Attorneys.   Below is some information about recent bills that have been filed by our chapter to help seniors and their families. You can click on the name of the person sponsoring the bill toContinue Reading

Nursing Home Residents’ Rights & The Ombudsman Program

When you or a loved one is admitted to a nursing home in Massachusetts, either for short term rehab, or a long term stay, you should know that every nursing home resident has rights, and every nursing home has an ombudsman.  The ombudsman's role is to visit residents on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, andContinue Reading

Stories of Harm – Health Care Quality Videos

My friend and former colleague Nicola Truppin of Health Navigator Partners sent me the link to the Health Care for All blog which has a recent post about people who were harmed while getting medical treatment at prominent Boston hospitals, either through misdiagnoses, medical errors or preventable infections.  There are 3 videos – each 3Continue Reading

Information Needed for MassHealth (Medicaid) Application

If you or a loved one find yourselves needing to apply for Medicaid (also called MassHealth) coverage for a nursing home stay, or think you might have to in the future,  you must be prepared for the extensive amount of information required by MassHealth. The following is a list of documentation you will be askedContinue Reading

Quality Rating Tool for Massachusetts Nursing Homes

Choosing a nursing home for yourself or a loved one, either for a short-term stay after a hospital visit, or for a more permanent placement can be overwhelming.  You can talk to your neighbors, get recommendations from doctors and look on-line for facilities in your area. But how do find out about the quality ofContinue Reading