Care facility closures are becoming increasingly prevalent, especially in rural areas, and can significantly impact residents’ lives. People who have called a place home for several years might lose a sense of community when their care facility shuts its doors. Individuals in establishments close to family might also face moving away from their loved ones, particularly when a small-town facility closes. As a family member, you can do several things to help.
In the past, institutionalization was thought to be the best option for individuals who need medical or behavioral support. More recent reformers have highlighted the benefits of receiving care in the home. This philosophical shift is a driving force behind institution shutdowns.
Alternatives to Long-term Care Facilities
Consider having a skilled professional take care of your loved one in your home. This can be a good option if you wish for your loved one to remain near home but there are no alternatives in the area. Your loved one can benefit from staying connected to the community while getting necessary care.
Medicaid provides in-home care, and Medicaid-covered in-home care can be more cost-effective than nursing homes. In-home care might be a feasible alternative for those who qualify for Medicaid.
Even if your loved one does not qualify for Medicaid, in-home care can be a viable option. The cost of in-home care tends to be less expensive than the cost of a facility. You or a family member could assist your loved one with aspects or daily life, or you could hire a homemaking service provider. For medical needs, consider a home health aide or skilled in-home nurse.
Transferring to Another Facility
When in-home care is not feasible, or there is another long-term option appropriate for your loved one, you may consider having your loved one transfer facilities. Sometimes, rural facilities that are closing merge with urban care locations. When a rural establishment closes, there might be care available in the metropolitan area.
In addition to receiving continued access to a similar lifestyle and routine, people accustomed to living in facilities or who need round-the-clock care might prefer this option.
Support your loved one by researching the new long-term care facility, contacting the staff to introduce yourself and start communication, and assisting with the move.
How to Help Your Loved One
Moving can be stressful whether your family member moves home or into another facility. The Nursing Home Abuse Center reports that relocation can negatively affect an institutionalized person’s health. Relocation Stress Syndrome, for instance, can cause an increased risk of falls, diminished self-care, weight loss, adverse mental health outcomes, and, in some cases, death.
Strive to stay positive about the move when you interact with your loved one, highlighting the benefits of the change. As moving can be physically taxing, help transport belongings or hire movers. Keep in contact with your loved one to provide social support.
Once the move takes place, advocate for your loved one by staying informed and reminding new caregivers of your loved one’s preferences.