The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is an emotional one involving the whole family. Shopping around for the ideal nursing home can make a big difference, and you will find a wide variety to choose from. Take the time to research the homes you select, dropping in unexpectedly and even speaking to some of the residents. Plan ahead and find out what you need to do to enter a nursing home. Admission processes can vary among nursing homes and states.
Apply for Medicaid as soon as possible by asking for an application from the Department of Family Services in your county. Find the phone number in the blue pages of your telephone book. Fill the application out completely, including proof of income and proof of resources. Once you complete and send in the form, a review of the information will determine if you or your loved one can receive Medicaid. A social worker and a public health nurse assigned to you will come to your home.
When you apply for Medicaid for assistance with nursing-home costs, you will receive a letter telling how to prepare for a visit by the social worker and public-health nurse. When the social worker visits your home she will assess or check information about your or your loved one's medications, health, nutrition and more. You or someone with your power of attorney will need to sign many documents during the visit.
One part of the visit includes asking how you or your loved one can perform everyday tasks like bathing, feeding or going to the bathroom. If you only need a little assistance, Medicaid will not pay for the nursing home. If you need much help with everyday tasks, Medicaid will pay nursing-home costs. The social worker will give you a list of nursing homes from which you can choose.
Half of the people living in nursing homes pay the costs from their savings. These residents may become eligible for Medicaid after their savings and resources run out. If you need skilled nursing services, Medicare will pay for some nursing-home costs under certain conditions. You would need to stay in a hospital at least three days before entering a nursing home to qualify.
Call the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) in your state to speak to a counselor about how to pay for care in a nursing home.
Veterans Administration Community Living Center
The requirements of admission into the Veterans Administration Community Living Center, formerly called the VA Nursing Home Care Units, mean you or your loved one must enroll in the VA for health care. You must have mental and medical stability and will need to document the reason for admission, the anticipated length of stay and the anticipated date of discharge from the VA center.