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How Does a Nursing Home Admissions Process Work?

Adult daughter reviews The Esquiline nursing admission paperwork with her mother.

After you have vetted and toured long-term skilled care communities and nursing homes for your parent, you may be wondering: What’s next? How does the admission process work? What paperwork do I need?

The actual admission process can feel overwhelming, as there is often a lot of paperwork that will need to be gathered, filled out, and signed before your parent can move into a nursing home. However, take a deep breath and rely on the admissions specialist at the community you choose to help you through the process.

You can also use this article as a guide to help you prepare. Here’s what you can expect.

Admission Paperwork for Long-Term Skilled Nursing Care

  1. A physician’s order for admission. This is a medical confirmation that your parent needs a long-term, skilled level of care. Typically, the order for your parent to be admitted into long-term skilled nursing care will come from your parent’s primary physician or the attending doctor if they have been in the hospital.
  2. A state-required form certifying your parent meets nursing home criteria. Each state has its own required form. The hospital or your primary care physician will fill out and sign this form.  
  3. Physician’s orders for treatment, occupational therapies, and any needed rehabilitation.
  4. A detailed list of all prescriptions, medications, and dosages.
  5. Medical history and physical results so attending physicians and nurses have the most up-to-date information on your parent. Your parent’s primary care physician should be able to supply this.
  6. Contact information for health care providers, family members, and other emergency contacts.
  7. Basic information about your parent’s daily routine and activities.
  8. Negative tuberculosis (TB) test or chest X-ray. TB is an airborne communicable disease, and skilled nursing care facilities need to make sure their residents do not have or carry this disease
  9. Personal information and consent for treatment forms. Many skilled care facilities will have a staff member assist you in filling out several forms that ask for your parent’s Social Security number, personal information, and signature.
  10. Financial paperwork and insurance documentation. You will need to disclose financial information to ensure you can pay for the care. (Note: Before the admission process, you and your family should consult with an attorney to help make decisions concerning the management of income, assets, and property, especially if one parent will be admitted while the other parent remains living at home.)
  11. Medical power of attorney paperwork that shows a family member has the power to make arrangements for a move into a nursing home or long-term care community.
  12. Any advance directives your parent may have.

Financial Questions You May Be Asked about Your Parent

To help ensure your parent or family can pay for the care, you will be asked to fill out financial paperwork and answer several questions, such as:

  1. Is your parent enrolled in Medicare (Part A or B) or Medicaid, or do they plan to apply?
  2. Does he/she have supplemental insurance?
  3. Does your parent receive veteran benefits, railroad retirement, SSI funds, or a private or government pension?
  4. What are your parent’s assets, including cash, checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, CDs, trust funds, and real estate holdings?
  5. Does your parent have any paid-up life insurance policies, paid-up burial insurance, or long-term care insurance?
  6. What is your patient’s current living situation (do they own a home or pay rent)?
  7. What monthly bills/payment do they have?

Be Prepared Before the Move to a Nursing Home

Moving a parent to a nursing home or skilled care community is never easy. However, it pays to be proactive. The more research and planning you do now, the more positive the move and experience will be.

Also, you and your entire family will be more prepared in case an emergency occurs and you need to make quick decisions.

Let Us Help Answer Your Questions

At the Dammert Care Center at The Esquiline, our team of senior living experts are more than happy to help answer your questions about long-term skilled nursing care and the admissions process. Feel free to contact us if you’d like to talk with one of our counselors or to schedule a tour.

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