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Nursing Home: Legal Definition

When an adult needs the highest level of care outside of a hospital, they are sent to nursing homes. A nursing home not only provides custodial care, such as bathing, assistance getting in and out of bed, dressing, taking medication, and feeding, but also offers a high level of medical care. Those who are living in nursing homes may suffer from physical or medical disabilities, and their families can no longer provide the appropriate care for them.

On-site, licensed physicians supervise each patient and help create their care plan. In most cases, a nurse and other medical professionals remain onsite. Skilled nurses are stationed at nursing homes all day, every day. Other medical professionals, such as occupational, speech, and physical therapists, also are available at sites. Having regular access to all of these professionals provides care and therapies not found at other types of senior housing.

Nursing homes also called convalescent homes or skilled nursing care centers. In most cases, these homes have staff that includes nurses, nursing aides, and assistants, as well as physical, occupational, and speech therapists, as well as social workers and recreational assistants.

Nursing Homes Vs. Assisted Living Facilities

The provided medical services and the actual floor plans remain the most significant differences between nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Services Provided

Residents who live in nursing homes require constant care and monitoring. These residents often suffer from complex health care conditions that need the assistance of skilled nurses, as well as other specialists, such as physical therapists.

However, residents who live in assisted living communities require custodial care, which means they do not have the same medical needs as those in nursing homes. Those who live in assisted living facilities may have memory loss or cannot safely live at the residence by themselves.

For instance, a person who has mobility issues and requires help getting in and out of bed or a person whose memory changes often and needs reminders about taking medication may end up at assisted living facilities.

Differences in Community Appearance

Those who visit nursing homes and assisted living communities will immediately notice differences. Often, an assisted living facility looks more like a modified apartment complex while a nursing home has a more institutional look and feel. That is not surprising since the level of care differs.

Get a Nursing Home Injury Case Review

Nursing homes do their best to care for residents. Despite their best efforts, several cases of abuse and neglect slip through the cracks. If you or someone you know was one of those residents, then you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the offending nursing home.  

If you worry your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, call 1-800-516-4783 for a free case evaluation. Connect with a lawyer who will fight for your rights and get you just compensation for your injuries and losses.


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