People tend to think of nursing homes as the place where their grandmother went to live when she could no longer care for herself, but in reality, they are actually skilled nursing facilities and rehabilitation centers that cater to short-term stays and function as a bridge between acute care (care in the hospital) and discharge to the patient’s home. “We do have some long term care patients, but most of our patients are only here until they are well enough to go home,” said Sara Heethuis, executive director of Holland Home’s Breton Rehabilitation & Living Centre.
What Skilled Nursing Facilities Provide
Many patients in skilled nursing facilities are recovering from an illness or injury or have had surgery—joint replacement for instance. “Hospitals are discharging patients earlier than ever, and some of those patients might need a few more weeks of skilled nursing or rehabilitation therapy,” Heethuis said. A skilled nursing facility can provide around-the-clock nursing for someone who needs that level of care along with the appropriate therapy—physical, occupational and speech—to improve the patient’s functioning. “Our main goal is to get the patient functioning well enough so that they can go back home. As a matter of fact, we begin planning for their discharge the minute they arrive,” said Heethuis.
A skilled nursing facility can also provide specialized medical services such as wound care. “We have a nurse on staff who is certified in wound care,” said Heethuis.
Choosing a Skilled Nursing Facility
Family members are often faced with making the decision about a skilled nursing facility within days or hours of their loved one’s discharge from the hospital. It can be a confusing and frightening time.
One of the best places to start is with the web site medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare. By plugging in your zip code or city, you can access information on all facilities in your area. All skilled nursing facilities are inspected and regulated by the state’s Department of Health Services and are given an overall rating as well as ratings on health inspections, staffing and quality measures. The site also allows you to choose three facilities and compare them side-by-side.
“Our facility, the Breton Rehabilitation & Living Centre, consistently receives four and five stars in all the areas measured. As a matter of fact, all of Holland Home’s skilled nursing facilities, including Raybrook Manor and Fulton Manor, receive four and five stars over all,” said Heethuis.
Another measure of the facility’s quality is their outcomes. “Our outcomes are higher than the national average,” said Heethuis. “More of our patients are discharged to their homes, as opposed to needing re-hospitalization, than most other facilities.”
Many facilities provide a wide range of amenities that may include catering to specific diet preferences, cable television, telephone, WiFi throughout the facility, tastefully decorated private rooms, life enrichment activities and assisted excursions. “At our newly expanded Breton Rehabiliation & Living Centre, we offer open dining with a choice of entrée and a consultation with our dietician to arrange for any special diet needs,” said Heethuis.
A stay in a skilled nursing facility can be a beneficial experience allowing you to return home with improved function and on the path to wellness.
For more information about Holland Home’s skilled nursing facilities, call 616-235-5113.