Montana Skilled Nursing

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Montana Skilled Nursing: Understanding Skilled Nursing Facilities, Search Near You, How to Pay, Licensing, Local Resources, and Questions to Ask

Montana, with a significant percentage of its population aged 65 and older, offers various senior housing and care solutions. Among these, Skilled Nursing Facilities, also known as Nursing Homes, provide essential services for individuals needing rehabilitative care. Residents appreciate that there are tax incentives like no tax on social security, which helps in affording quality personal care in their later years.

Skilled Nursing Facilities in Montana are state-licensed establishments that offer a secure, therapeutic environment for individuals requiring transitional care, typically between a hospital and a more permanent residence such as an assisted living or independent living community. While the majority of the care provided is short-term acute care, these facilities also offer long-term care services when needed.

Skilled Nursing In Montana

Skilled nursing facilities offer 24-hour care and medical services, which include intermediate care and rebab and therapeutic care, all provided by licensed nurses and support professionals. Usually, skilled nursing is short-term acute care but may also offer long term care and intermediate care.

Skilled nursing facilities offer 24-hour care and medical services, which include intermediate care and rebab and therapeutic care, all provided by licensed nurses and support professionals. Usually, skilled nursing is short-term acute care but may also offer long term care and intermediate care.

Skilled nursing: Care that requires the skill of a nurse

Skilled Nursing is for seniors who may have planned surgeries or procedures (knee or hip replacement, etc.) and those individuals with acute or unplanned medical issues (Sepsis, cellulitis, UTI, etc). The oversight of a nurse may be required because care is not predictable and able to be preformed on a set schedule.

Levels of care offered in a skilled nursing facility

It is important to understand the differences between care services. 

Rehabilitation and Therapy 

  • This is treatment for an injury, illness, or pains with the goal restoring function, including nursing and therapy services.  
  • The rehab plan is ordered by a physician. The services are provided by nurses and physical, occupational, and speech therapists.

Intermediate Care Facility (ICF)

  • These are nursing facilities most suited for individuals who need 24-hour medical oversight in a well-structured setting. 
  • Often times, residents share a room and they are encouraged to bring personal items to create a more home-like environment. 

Long-term Care

  • Care provided by different caregivers in different settings. 
  • Assists with activities of daily living (ADLs). 
  • Care is not scheduled or predictable.

Examples of care provided at a Skilled Nursing Facility include:

  • Skilled Nursing offers 24-hour skilled nursing care and medical services administered by licensed nurses and support professionals.  
  • This is the highest level of care provided that is not a hospitalization.  
  • A physician oversees the care of the individual.
  • Trained staff assist with activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, feeding, using the bathroom and getting in and out of bed.  
  • Physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory therapy. 
  • Regular monitoring of heart rate, blood pressure, or blood sugar. 
  • IV therapy 
  • Wound and post-surgery care. 
  • Injected medications.

Laws and Regulations for Skilled Nursing in Montana

In Montana, Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) are obligated to provide all residents with a written description of their legal rights. These facilities need to adhere to both federal and state requirements and maintain proper documentation to receive payment under the Medicare and/or Medicaid programs.

Residents Rights and Protections

Residents in Montana have rights and protections under both federal and state laws, which can vary from state to state. They are entitled to quality care, respect, and the ability to voice grievances.

Staffing

Staff members in Montana’s SNFs are licensed and regulated, with a mandated staff-to-resident ratio. Ongoing training and education for all staff members are usually required by the state.

Documentation

Facilities are obligated to maintain thorough documentation, including staff training records, resident care plans, medication assistance, and any changes in residents’ conditions.

Meal Services

SNFs provide three scheduled meals daily, with accommodations for special dietary needs and varying quality and variety across different facilities.

Housekeeping

Housekeeping and linen services are typically provided for resident rooms.

Life Enrichment

Facilities offer activities for residents’ enrichment, including physical exercise, social opportunities, and spiritual programming.

Visitation

Residents have the right to receive visitors at any reasonable time, with some limitations based on accommodation arrangements and the resident’s wishes.

Grievances

Facilities must have procedures for addressing grievances and complaints, and typically, communities have both a resident council and family council for voicing concerns.

Evacuation Procedure

In emergencies, SNFs follow a designated chain of command and emergency protocols to ensure resident safety. Procedures might vary, with specific requirements for evacuation and resident transfer abilities.

Licensing in Montana

In Montana, the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) licenses SNFs. Facilities must meet state certification requirements and, if applicable, Medicare certification and accreditation. The state agencies conduct inspections for certification and report their findings to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Care Providers

Healthcare providers 

  • Nurses, therapist, caregivers and social workers must maintain their own licenses specific to the services and care they provide.  

Registered nurses (aka Charge Nurse)  

  • Must receive education through a nationally accredited nursing education program and earn their diploma (associate’s or bachelor’s degree) in nursing science.  
  • The registered nurse must then sit for an exam to get a state-issued license. 
  • Most states require approved continuing education credits in order to renew the nursing license every two years.

How much does skilled nursing in Montana cost?

The cost of skilled nursing in Montana can vary depending on factors such as location, level of care required, and whether the room is private or shared. On average, residents might expect the cost for a single occupancy room in Montana to be comparable or slightly higher than the national average, given the state’s geographical location and cost of living.

Average daily costs for skilled nursing in Montana:

  • The national average cost for skilled nursing care per day is $325, according to Genworth. This estimate might not encompass all supplies, medications, therapy, or rehab.
  • Private rooms tend to be more expensive, averaging around $340 per day.
  • A shared room, on the other hand, averages out to approximately $310 per day.

It is always advisable for individuals and their families to research specific facilities in Montana, request detailed pricing information, and consider any additional costs associated with skilled nursing care to get a comprehensive understanding of the expenses involved.

How to Pay for Skilled Nursing

Paying for Senior Living and Care will vary depending on a few factors. For instance, the level of care needed; the income and savings of the resident; the state and location of the community; or if the resident is a veteran. In the United States there are over 400 programs that may offer some monetary relief for senior care, but often the majority of costs are covered by private funds and family assistance. These funds come from our Federal, State, and Local Governments. 

It is important to take your time when exploring payment and coverage options.

Private pay – YES:

  • Many families pay for assisted living with private funds.
  • Private pay can be a combination of retirement funds, personal savings, and pension payments.
  • Family members may contribute funds to pay for assisted living or other senior housing and care.

Medicare -MAYBE:

Medicare will TYPICALLY cover Skilled Nursing (SNF) care ONLY under these factors: 

  • People 65 years and older and individuals with end stage renal disease are eligible for Medicare benefits, no matter their income.
  • Coverage is meant for people in need of short-term care.
  • The person has Medicare Part A, and has available days left in their benefit period. The person has a qualified hospital stay. (3 consecutive midnights or more) 
  • The individual must enter SNF within 30 days of leaving the hospital. 
  • The person’s doctor has ordered inpatient services at a skilled nursing facility. 
  • The individual must need and receive the skilled care daily. The care provided must be care that the person can only receive in a SNF. 
  • The person needs skilled services because of an ongoing condition or a new condition that started while in a SNF for treatment of an ongoing condition. 
  • The skilled services must be reasonable and necessary for the treatment of the condition.  
  • You must receive the care in a Medicare certified SNF.

Medicaid – MAYBE:

Medicaid can be a payer source if the patient needs both care and has a financial hardship based on the individual state criteria. Eligible participants include: low-income adults, elderly adults and people with disabilities. The program is funded jointly by each state and the federal government; and national guidelines are in place do decipher how states must spend Medicaid money, but with allowances toward the guidelines. Every state has their own individual Medicaid assistance program. Each state determines what levels of care will be covered by Medicaid, who is eligible, and how much the state will reimburse the care community.

  • Skilled nursing falls under Medicaid’s Nursing Facility Services. 
  • People who are eligible for Medicaid must meet the state criteria for skilled nursing care. 
  • The state of residency must abide by federal law and regulations when setting their skilled nursing care requirements.  
  • The patient meets the state guidelines for income and asset limits.

If you are unsure whether you qualify for Medicaid, you should apply. You may be eligible depending on your household income, family size, age, disability and other factors.For a clearer understanding on coverage contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program.

Long-term Care Insurance – MAYBE:

Long term care insurance is a great way to pay for assisted living, and planning ahead is important when considering how to pay for senior housing and care. Nearly 75% of people over the age of 65 will require long-term care and services at some point. Buying into long-term care insurance when a person is in their 50s and 60s is the most common time to do so.

  • Long-term care insurance helps cover the costs of chronic medical conditions.
  • Individuals and couples with the ability to pay into long-term care insurance have the advantage of a head start in allocating funds for senior care.

Veteran Aid and Assistance – MAYBE:

This benefit is available to some military veterans and surviving spouses who live in an assisted living community and those who have in-home care.

  • There are specific guidelines, but a veteran may qualify for as much as $2,050 each month.
  • A veteran with a sick spouse may be eligible for $1,600 per month.
  • If a veteran has passed, their surviving spouse can qualify for $1,300 per month.

Questions to ask a skilled nursing facility

  • Is the facility licensed?
  • Has the facility’s license ever been revoked?
  • Is the facility Medicare/Medicaid certified?
  • What types of insurance is accepted?
  • Are all specific medical needs able to be met?
  • What services are offered?
  • What is the rate for basic care?
  • Are any reviews available to be seen by the public?
  • Are protocols in place to ensure healthy, balanced meals?
  • What if an individual has specific dietary restrictions, can they be met at the facility?

Additional questions and inquiries to ask skilled nursing facilities

  • What should a new resident (patient) bring with them?
  • What is the difference between skilled nursing and assisted living?
  • What happens in case of an emergency?
  • Can the family pet visit the resident?
  • What is the level of privacy?
  • What are the available social activities?
  • What is the hours for family visits?
  • Can patients request special meals for dietary needs?
  • Are skilled nursing facilities connected to hospitals?
  • How big are the rooms?
  • What are the training requirements of skilled nurses?

Montana Office on Aging The Aging Service Bureau is housed in the Senior and Long Term Care Division under the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. The office is responsible for the administration of the Older American Act through the ten Area Agencies on Aging.

Area 2 Agency on Aging is an Adult and Disability Resource Center providing information and assistance to elderly individuals and adult individuals with a disability. They connect individuals to needed services, provide counseling on long term care needs, help with applications for assistance to various programs and help develop programs to meet the needs of local residents. Area 2 serves those in Judith Basin, Fergus, Petroleum, Wheatland, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Sweet Grass, Stillwater, Yellowstone, Caron, and Big Horn.

Area 5 Area Agency on Aging is an Adult and Disability Resource Center providing information and assistance to elderly individuals and adult individuals with a disability. They serve those in Beaverhead, Deer Lodge, Granite, Madison, Powell, and Silver Bow.

Missoula Aging Services Missoula Aging Services provides a wide array of programs and services for older adults, people with disabilities and those who care for them. As a one stop shop, comprehensive services and referrals are available (both an Area Agency on Aging and an Aging and Disability Resource Center). Programs include homemaker and respite services, hospital to home transitions, retirement services, personal consultations, help with Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security, transportation assistance, Meals on Wheels, liquid supplements, congregate (group) meals, farmers’ market coupons, veteran directed care, caregiver support groups, companions for older adults, hundreds of volunteer opportunities, certified local ombudsman (advocates), onsite resource library, community classes (Medicare workshops, training for caregivers, balance improvement), elder abuse prevention, and statewide Medicare fraud prevention.

Area 8 Agency on Aging It is the mission of Cascade County Aging Services to promote an enhanced quality of life for a diverse population of older adults residing in this community by providing a comprehensive and coordinated system of services such as information and assistance, Senior Medicare Patrol, State Health Insurance and Assistance (SHIP), congregate and home delivered meals.

Eldercare Locator This is a great resource to search for specific care in specific counties and cities. This database is a nationwide resource that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources. Connect with services such as meals, home care or transportation, or a caregiver education or respite from caregiving responsibilities. The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency of the U.S. Administration for Community Living.

Medicare provides a search feature to find & compare providers near you, most senior housing and care providers are included on CareAvailability.com. Find & compare plans in your area. Determine if you qualify for premium savings

Medicaid offers information on how to apply for Medicaid, eligibility criteria, links to local state offices, and additional resources

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Whether you are living with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone with the disease, information and resources are available.

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Written by The Care Availability Team
Experts in the senior care & retirement living industries

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