The cost of nursing home care in N.C. is less than the national average.

The average cost of a private room in a nursing home now tops $61,217 per year in North Carolina, according to Genworth Financial’s annual Cost of Care Survey;  the Genworth survey polls more than 10,000 nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home care providers to gauge care prices.

Private nursing home rooms cost, on average, $167.72 per day, with a minimum daily rate of $120. By comparison, the national average for a private nursing home room in 2007 is $204.95 per day, or more than $74,800 per year.

Semi-private nursing home rooms run slightly less, costing, on average, about $154.55 per day in North Carolina, or about $56,400 per year. Nationally, semi-private rooms carry an average price tag of $180.78 per day, or nearly $66,000 a year.

A private bedroom in a North Carolina assisted living facility cost more than $30,000 per year on average, or more than $2,500 per month. The national average for a private room in an assisted living facility is $32,572.61 per year, or more than $2,714 per month.

Genworth Financial is a financial services provider based in Richmond, Va.

How to Choose a Nursing Home

© 2007 ElderLawNet, Inc.

Last Updated: 4/10/2007

Few things are more stressful than finding a nursing home for a loved one. Everyone has heard nursing home horror stories and no one wants that to happen to their loved ones. While there is no way to guarantee that nothing will go wrong, some careful research and planning can help reassure you. Following are some criteria to consider when looking for a nursing home.

Location. No single factor is more important to quality of care and quality of life of a nursing home resident than visits by family members. Care is often better if the facility knows someone’s watching and cares. Visits can be the high point of the day or week for the nursing home resident. So, make it as easy as possible for family members and friends to visit.

Special Needs. Make sure the facility can meet any special needs the resident may have, including a ventilator, psychiatric care, or extra supervision. If the resident has dementia, the facility will need to be one that handles dementia patients. Make sure the staff is properly trained for dementia patients; there is enough staff, especially at night; and staff members are assigned to a particular resident.

Personal Needs. Can the facility meet personal needs, such as religious or ethnic needs? Also, if the resident speaks a language other than English, are there staff who speak the same language?

References. Ask the facility to provide the names of family members of residents so you can ask them about the care provided in the facility and the staff’s responsiveness when the resident or relatives raise concerns.

Do research. CareScout is an unbiased source for ratings and reviews of eldercare providers nationwide. Detailed, 7-10 page Nursing Home reports are available for a fee, and include more than 100 pieces of information on quality, resident population profiles, and health violations. Medicare.gov allows you to get three years worth of inspection reports on the nursing homes you are considering. Find out who owns the facility and if they own any other nursing homes, and see if you can get reports for those nursing homes as well. In addition, talk to the long-term care ombudsman in your state to find out if there have been complaints against the nursing homes you are considering.

Interview the administration and staff. Talk to the nursing home administrator or nursing staff about how care plans are developed for residents and how they respond to concerns expressed by family members. Make sure you are comfortable with the response. It is better that you meet with and ask questions of the people responsible for care and not just the person marketing the facility.

Tour the nursing home. Try not to be impressed by a fancy lobby or depressed by an older, more rundown facility. What matters most is the quality of care and the interactions between staff and residents. See what you pick up about how the staff interacts with the patients, how well residents are attended to and whether they are treated with respect. Also, investigate the quality of the food service. Eating is both a necessity and a pleasure that continues even when we’re unable to enjoy much else.

© 2007 ElderLawNet, Inc.

There are ways to make transition to a nursing home less stressful
By Meredith Moss 

The difficult decision has been made: Mom will be moving to a nursing home. But how do we make the transition easier for everyone?   And how do we deal with the guilt?

"It’s one of the most difficult decisions anyone ever has to make because you may have promised mom or dad that you’ll always take care of them and you’ll never place them in a nursing home," said Thelma Sens, a social worker at Kettering Medical Center, who’s been in the field for more than 20 years.

"But circumstances change. And you’ll have to explain to your loved one that you are simply unable to handle the care that’s required to keep them safe."

Read More →

Entering nursing home is a tough decision

By MISTY MAYARD

Monday, April 2, 2007 6:00 PM EDT

EDITOR’S NOTE: At the turn of the 20th century, Americans could expect to live to the ripe old age of 47. Today, according to the Centers for Disease Control National Center for Health Statistics, the average American can expect to live 77.9 years.

As the percentage of the population which reaches "old age" continues to increase, we are faced with how to best prepare for it. Over the next few days in a series of stories we will examine the process of aging in our area and the unique problems it presents, not only for those who are aging but also for those who are charged with the care of those who cannot care for themselves in their golden years.

Three years ago Bob Biddle made the decision to place his parents in the Maysville Nursing & Rehabilitation Facility.

Biddle’s father was developing dementia, and his mother was unable to care for herself any longer, Biddle said.

While his father died last August, Biddle’s mother, May Biddle, remains a resident at the facility.

The decision to place a family member in a nursing home can be difficult for many, but Biddle said it was the best option to guarantee the care needed for his parents was provided, and their quality of life did not suffer.

"The nursing home has been wonderful," Biddle said of the Maysville facility. "I can leave there and know she’s under good care."

At 98 years old, May Biddle has more of a social life now than she ever did at her home, Biddle said.

"My mother goes to bingo … and church," he said. She exercises, and has a number of friends in the facility. Bob Biddle said she also receives more visitors than she ever did at her home.

"It’s been good for her," he said.

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10 Tips: Finding a nursing home

Take wise steps when choosing a nursing home

LAURA T. COFFEY, Times Correspondent
Published February 18, 2007

Who knew that so many people have to make decisions about nursing homes while under severe time constraints? These tips can help:

1 Know your rights. If a hospital tells you your loved one must be discharged within 24 hours, you have appeal rights under Medicare that can extend your relative’s stay by two days and give you time to research nursing homes. Ask the hospital for a copy of "An Important Message from Medicare," or call toll-free 1-800-633-4227.

2 Use the Eldercare Locator. It will connect you with your local agency on aging, which can give you names and locations of nursing homes. Call toll-free 1-800-677-1116

3 Do lots of clicking. Consumer Reports recently completed an investigation of nursing homes. Go to www.consumerreports.org/cro/health-fitness/nursing-home-guide/0608_nursing-home-guide.htm, and click on the map. This will lead you to Florida nursing homes to consider and avoid.

4 Tap into other resources. You can check less complete surveys of nursing homes through the Nursing Home Compare database on the Web site of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services: www.medicare.gov/nhcompare/home.asp. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration has a site www.floridahealthstat. com that tracks nursing homes within the state.

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(Data are for U.S. for year indicated)

Number of nursing homes: 18,000

Number of beds: 1.9 million

Number of current residents: 1.6 million

Average length of stay (current resident): 892 days

Number of discharged residents: 2.5 million

Average length of stay (discharged resident): 272 days

Occupancy rate: 87 percent

Source: The National Nursing Home Survey: 1999 Summary, tables 1, 11, 39

Medicare has begun to gather information including fines, investigations, past surveys, and other information on all nursing homes that receive medicare from their residents. This information is very helpful and family members should check the website before choosing a facility for a loved one.

www.medicare.gov/NHCompare/Include/DataSection/Questions/SearchCriteria.asp