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Community Hospital vs Nursing Home: 3 Notable Facts to Remember

Aging comes with changes that sometimes complicate our way of life. As our loved ones grow older, their physical and mental health slowly deteriorates. This cannot be avoided, as much as we would want to. The best thing for us to do is to find ways how to maintain their health. This way, they can still enjoy their golden years with family members and friends.

In line with this, many care options are provided for the elderly. Seniors are in dire need of nursing care and medical services to help improve their quality of life. However, it can be quite overwhelming to choose which option suits your loved ones the most. These services are provided by various facilities—all directed toward caring for the elderly. But the most important thing is the availability of medical care which is commonly found in community hospitals. Interestingly enough, nursing homes provide medical services too.

If you are stuck between wanting to admit your aging parent to community hospital care or nursing home in Singapore, this article can help.

What is a community hospital?

Community hospitals are public health institutions working closely with acute hospitals to provide medical services and nursing care to recently discharged patients. They provide services that are complementary to those provided by acute care hospitals to ensure the smooth continuation of every patient's treatment. This way, they can recover at a faster rate and return to normal day-to-day living.

Most of the time, community hospitals are compared to general hospitals but they serve different purposes although both equally important.

What is a general hospital (or acute care hospital)?

General hospitals provide 24-hour medical care to patients having acute episodes of illnesses and medical conditions. They have healthcare professionals, facilities, and equipment necessary to reduce or prevent the progression of diseases. Acute hospitals also cater to those who have severe or life-threatening illnesses as well as those who had recently undergone surgery.

Once the general hospital releases patients, they can be transferred to community hospitals to receive continuous treatment and rehabilitation care.

What is a nursing home?

Nursing homes are dedicated to elderly persons who have high levels of need. This includes seniors with chronic illnesses, severe disabilities, but lacks family support. Here, complex nursing care and medical care services are being provided to improve the overall well-being of aging adults. There are also caregiving arrangements to tend to the day-to-day needs of the elderly. Furthermore, there is a medical team consisting of private nurses and house-call doctors to continuously monitor the health of the care recipients.

To put it simply, nursing homes serve as a shelter for seniors who require around-the-clock care and assistance to live normally.

What is the difference between community hospitals and nursing homes in Singapore?

Despite both community hospitals and nursing homes being service providers for elderly people, they differ in terms of methods and practices. Below is a thorough comparison of both settings to make you aware of what the two can offer for your loved ones:

Cures and Treatments

Elderly people who are admitted into community hospitals are being treated until they're cured. Their conditions may be severe but the goal is to treat them so they can have a normal daily living. Various facilities, equipment, and procedures are being made to make that happen. But when it comes to nursing homes, most of the patients have conditions that are no longer curable. Their chronic diseases may never fully go away but the right long-term care and support can reduce their progressions.

Also, community hospitals have a more complete medical team. It consists of nurses, doctors, laboratory staff, and more. Nursing homes offer quality medical assistance but the healthcare professionals are limited to nurses and on-call doctors. However, nursing homes work closely with hospitals and the primary doctors of their care recipients to monitor their health properly.

Frequency of Provider Interaction

In a community hospital setting, patients will get to see their medical providers almost every day. They will be constantly monitored to ensure that nothing is wrong with their health. On the other hand, those in nursing homes can only see their doctors or nurses if they have a medical need or emergency. Most of the time the patient is entrusted in the hands of their caregivers and can go about their daily living if they're doing well.

Community hospitals are more adamant about checking the medical conditions of their patients because it's their primary concern. Nursing homes are focused on helping the elderly sustain happier and more comfortable lives, despite their medical conditions.

Length of stay

Community hospitals and nursing homes are very different in terms of longevity of stay. More often than not, you get to stay in a community hospital until your illness is cured completely. It's more of a short term care plan. By then, you can go home to your family. But in nursing homes, it can end up being the permanent home of the care recipients. They have the option to stay or go so as long as it's relevant to improving their quality of life—most patients, however, remain in nursing homes because of their incurable conditions. This is a viable option for those who have no family members to continue taking care of them at home.

Community hospitals vs nursing homes: Which is better?

Community hospitals or nursing homes? Which inpatient care facility is more suitable for your aging loved ones?

The answer relies on the following factors to consider:

What the seniors' needs are

Aging adults can have varying needs. Some of them can live somewhat independently but remain forgetful when it comes to medications and other important things. Others cannot go to the toilet by themselves while some are completely bed-ridden. To know which care option suits your loved ones the most, carefully evaluate their needs. Find out what it is they need for them to live more comfortably and healthily. If they need constant supervision and relentless rehabilitation care as well as socialization, then they should probably move into a nursing home. But if it's their medical condition that needs to be treated immediately, then being admitted to a community hospital would be a much better choice.

Pre-existing health conditions

Find out if the elderly person has any pre-existing medical issues. This will help determine which facility is better at improving their conditions. For those with curable diseases, even the challenging ones, can be admitted to community hospitals. While those with irreversible conditions or impairments such as dementia—turn to nursing home services instead. In nursing homes, you can stay for as long as you need instead of just a few days, months, or years. Since your condition is probably permanent, you at least deserve to be given the right amount of care and attention.

Facilities and amenities

Community hospital wins in the category of extensive medical services and equipment. But in terms of facilities and amenities, nursing homes are more superior. Living in a nursing home is not easy especially when you're separated from family members. That's why there are common areas and gardens where care recipients can roam freely every once in a while. Nursing homes have more space for social interaction among the care recipients. A private nursing home in Singapore also has nice rooms that are more homey compared to the box-like units in hospitals.

Limitations and restrictions

In a community hospital, rules can be more restrictive. Patients are often staying in their rooms whilst they only get 1 visitor to stay with them. In nursing homes, seniors are allowed to go out every once in a while just to get a breath of fresh air. Furthermore, nursing homes have activities that seniors can partake in to reduce boredom and feelings of isolation. These activities also help enhance their physical and mental states. These cannot normally be found in community or acute hospitals.

Monitoring by a specialist

If you are being closely monitored by a doctor who specializes in your condition, it would be best to remain in a community hospital. Although nursing homes appear to be more comfortable, the facilities and equipment are more extensive in community hospitals. Doctors will have an easier time addressing your needs especially if there is an emergency. Being in a nursing home requires you to be transferred or escorted to a separate community or acute hospital to be treated accordingly.

Accessibility of services

Some nursing homes offer home care services. This means that seniors can be given care, support, and assistance within their own house. They do not have to move into nursing homes especially if they have poor mobility or if they simply do not want to reside in a place with strangers. Integrated care will be brought right to their door in the form of home nursing services. However, in community hospitals, this is not the case. Acute care must be provided to them while being admitted to the facility itself.

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