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Many states use different terms to describe and license "nursing homes". The state of Missouri licenses four different types of care facilities based on the level of care they provide to residents. It is important for you to know these distinctions as a physician may recommend a certain level of care for your loved one. The facility titles below are listed from highest level of care to lowest level of care. Find the services you need with our services locator.

Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) provide:

  • 24-hour oversight under the direction of a licensed physician
  • appropriate diet
  • clean and safe environment
  • skilled nursing care
  • specialized treatment services

Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) provide:

  • 24-hour oversight under the direction of a licensed physician
  • appropriate diet
  • clean and safe environment
  • skilled nursing care
  • treatment services to meet the individual care needs of residents

Residential Care Facility II (RCF-II) provide:

  • 24-hour oversight under the direction of a licensed physician
  • supervision of diets
  • assistance in personal care
  • storage and distribution or administration of medication
  • protective oversight including care during short-term illness or recuperation

Residential Care Facility I (RCF-I) provide:

  • Shelter and board
  • Protective oversight, which may include storage and distribution or administration of medications and care during short-term illness or recuperation

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Explore Alternatives

Before you begin looking for a nursing home, be sure your loved one's medical condition has been thoroughly evaluated. When properly diagnosed and treated, some conditions may allow for a person to remain in their home. Since most people prefer to stay in their own home, it is also important to investigate possible alternatives to nursing home care. Your local Area Agency on Aging can help you with this process.

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Do Your Homework

Once it is certain that nursing home care is necessary, you need to determine what level of care is most appropriate. This can best be done in consultation with a physician, nurse, and/or social worker. Identify nursing home qualities that are most important for meeting the needs and expectations of your loved one. Each nursing home in your area will have unique strengths and weaknesses. As you begin to evaluate the facilities in your area, it's a good idea to do some preliminary research before you visit any nursing homes. Some quality issues are subject to personal preferences while others are critical to any resident's health and well being. Ask nursing home residents, resident's families, citizen advocacy groups, your physician, and clergy members for their opinions about various facilities.

Some issues to consider when evaluating your choices include bed availability, provision of services that your loved one will need, affordability, quality, and, of course, location, location, location! - the home must be located somewhere that is convenient for you to visit often.

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Experts to Consult: Long Term Care Ombudsmen

First, you will want to speak with an expert. A state or local ombudsman can assist you in piecing together the different sources of information that will aide you in making an informed decision about nursing home care. An ombudsman:

  • Educates consumers and long term care providers about residents' rights and good care practices
  • Provides information to the public on nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and services, residents' rights, and legislative and policy issues
  • Investigates complaints and advocates for residents' rights and quality care in nursing homes, personal care, residential care and other long term care facilities
  • Will be familiar with the homes in your area and often with the staff and residents who reside in them.

He or she can help you find and interpret information about state inspections, staffing, and the resident characteristics and quality measures. To find your State Ombudsman or local representative, go to the Missouri Long Term Care Ombudsman site.

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Missouri Nursing Home Inspection Reports

Each licensed facility in Missouri receives a minimum of one full inspection per year. As a consumer you have a right to view the nursing home's inspection report. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is responsible for inspecting and licensing nursing homes in Missouri . Inspection reports can be viewed at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services .  You can obtain paper copies of the state inspection reports from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, from the facility itself, or from the long term care ombudsman .

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Comparing Nursing Homes

After you have narrowed your choices down to several possible nursing homes, you might want to do some "comparison shopping". Nursing home information is provided by the federal government through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services 'Nursing Home Compare' website . The site contains facility inspection information, staffing information, and quality measure information.

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Financial Considerations

Map out how you intend to pay for nursing home care. Medicare has very limited benefits for nursing home care. You may have private long term care insurance. Most nursing home residents, even if they pay privately when they enter a home, eventually run out of money because of the high costs. They then convert to Medicaid payment. Unless you are certain the resident can pay indefinitely with private funds, choose a facility that accepts Medicaid payment. Make sure the facility you choose will accept the type of payment you are going to use.

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We appreciate the assistance of the Missouri Long Term Care Ombudsman Program and The National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (NCCNHR) , for much of the information contained on this page.

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