Senior care homes come in many shapes and sizes, but there is always a perfect place for every person. Over the last few decades Senior care homes have evolved and “nursing homes” aren’t quite what they used to be. It is important to note, that at our Extended-Care facilities and Assisted Living facilities we make great efforts for both homes to feel exactly that, like a home. We live by the mindset at Camelot Senior Living that this is the resident’s new “home” and we treat it as so. In this article we will discuss the differences and similarities between Extended-Care Facilities (often referred to “Nursing Homes” or “Long-Term Care”) versus Assisted Living Facilities. When Senior Care Housing is being considered it is common to have many questions. We hope you find this article informative and helpful. We are hopeful this information helps guide you in your decision on which housing option would be best fit for you or your loved one. 

In efforts to help understand “Extended-Care Facilities” versus “Assisted Living Facilities” let’s begin by talking about each one separately. 

Extended-Care Facilities

 Whether it’s called an “extended-care facility,” a “nursing home,” or a ​”long-term care facility, ​” these facilities offer a variety of services that can help people that typically have more chronic conditions and medical problems. This facility is best for patients that may require up to 24-hour care, but not an inpatient hospitalization level of care. At an extended-care facility there is licensed nursing staff as well as at least one RN supervisor on site, and a Nurse Practioner on call at all times to provide care and respond to any emergency care needs quickly and efficiently if needed. 

Assistance: It is important to note that although some residents require full care, other residents in extended-care facilities still have much of their independence. In the extended-care facilities we encourage residents to utilize their independence as much as possible. The simple statement, “use it or lose it” often applies and we want our residents to be able to keep their independence as much as possible. In the event a resident would require assistance there is always staff on site 24/7 to provide assistance as well as a “call-bell” in the resident’s room and restroom areas. When the resident presses the call bell it notifies the nursing staff that they are needing assistance with a task and that someone will be there shortly to help. 

Because of these consistent shifts of care, extended-care facilities have the maximal nursing care for your loved one. Throughout the day and night, the staff provides custodial care to the patients in the facility. This may involve, but is not limited to: 

  • Assistance with feeding (whether that be setup or physically feeding them) 
  • Assistance with transferring (i.e. out of bed, into their wheelchair)
  • Assistance getting to the restroom and/or changing 
  • Assistance with bathing and dressing 

Residents in extended-care facilities solely receive their medications from our certified nursing staff whether that be an LPN or an RN. In addition, if a resident has any wound care needs, extended-care facilities have a wound care nurse on site as well.  

Full household services are provided within extended-care facilities such as Housekeeping, Laundry, and Dietary. 

Coverage: Extended-care facilities offer both skilled therapy services (Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy) and long-term care. Skilled therapy services often are covered under Medicare insurance where as long term care is typically covered under Medicaid services or private pay. Medicaid qualification is typically based off of income. To qualify, one cannot exceed a certain threshold of funds/ assets.

Therapy: Extended-care facilities take pride in being able to provide skilled therapy services to our residents! Once again, we try and motivate our residents to keep their independence/mobility and encourage them to participate in exercise and therapy services. We want residents to maintain the strength they have and if they have had a decline, our therapy team works extensively with our residents in efforts to get it back! Often times residents admit to us for short term skilled stay to complete therapy services and then return home. At Camelot Senior Living we like to refer to this process as “Rest-Restore-Recover-Rehab-Return Home.” 

We also keep a close eye on our long-term residents who may need skilled therapy services due to a decline. At each extended care facility at Camelot Senior Living we have a therapy gym where our residents who qualify for skilled therapy services go to regain strength and work extensively with our certified therapy team! 

In the event that a resident does not qualify for skilled therapy services, we also maintain a “restorative” program where our nursing staff sets time aside to assist residents in exercise and movement. 

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted Living facilities often times are viewed more as a “high end apartment.” They tend to be more spacious as well. There are several factors that go into a resident qualifying for Assisted Living. 

Assistance: Assisted Living facilities are designed for someone that may need more assistance than living on their own, but still have majority of their independence in their ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living.) They also provide medication management for those who have chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. At Assisted Living Facilities there are LPN’s on site as well as PCA’s for custodial assistance, if needed. For example, residents in Assisted Living may require assistance with: 

  • Some help with dressing 
  • Supervised showers
  • Room delivery for meals 

At Assisted Living Facilities they also have “Call-Bell’s” in their rooms, restrooms, as well as an alert button they wear around their neck in the event they would need assistance. Laundry, Housekeeping, Dietary, and medication management are offered at Assisted Living as well. These services are included in their stay, but residents at Assisted Living have the option to do these tasks independently if they would rather. For example, if the resident would rather do their own laundry and take their own medication independently, they are able to do so. 

Coverage: Assisted Living Facilities do not except insurance for coverage, thus making them exclusively a private pay facility. 

Therapy: Assisted Living Facilities residents receive outsourced Outpatient therapy if needed. This is typically covered under Part B Medicare and is typically performed a couple times a week. 

Similarities

So, how are these facilities similar? Both types of Senior Care Homes have a wide range of amenities and services to offer their patients in addition to medical/custodial care such as Housekeeping, Laundry, and Dietary services. Both types of facilities are designed to provide a safe environment for the patient while typically providing an opportunity for family members and friends as well as residents to interact with each other. They both provide individual therapy as well as group therapy just under different criteria. Trained professionals are present at both locations to best serve their patients in order to keep them safe, healthy, and feeling well both physically and mentally. Both facilities have a focus on inclusion, group therapy, and preventing loneliness and isolation among the residents. Because the residents are usually in these facilities for some time, getting them involved in activities with others can help boost morale and individual independence and confidence.

Differences

Most obvious are the differences between extended-care facilities and assisted living facilities. Residents in Assisted living facilities usually have higher functional capacity than extended-care facilities. Assisted Living Facilities also tend to be more expensive, because they usually do not accept Medicare, Medicaid, or other government-provided payment options. Private insurance and personal pay are the only ways to cover costs at Assisted Living. In contrast, Extended-Care Facilities do accept Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance, as well as private insurance and cash. Extended-care facilities have a 24-7 nursing staff attending to patients, where Assisted Living Facilities do not.

Assisted Living Facilities provide minimal assistance with ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living) whereas Extended-Care facilities provide total care with all ADL’s, if needed. Extended-Care facilities offer wound care, IV therapy, and are typically able to accommodate for more chronic medical health needs. Extended-Care facilities provide skilled therapy services within the home whereas Assisted Living can only Assist in provide outpatient therapy. 

All in all, both facilities provide a great deal of comfort to the elderly and can be used by people with disabilities. The services and costs may differ, but the care that your loved one will receive at either facility will be personalized and tailored to his or her needs. If you have questions about whether your loved one needs care from an extended-care facility or an assisted living facility, call​ Camelot Senior Living admission line at 337-313-4799, ​ and see how their trained professionals can best serve you and yours.