Nursing Homes and Hospitals - Essay Example

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As primary healthcare bodies, nursing homes and hospitals are ubiquitous institutions in the US and in most parts of the world. These establishments have often been confused to be one and the same considering the similarities in the type of medical facilities offered and healthcare services rendered…
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Nursing Homes and Hospitals As primary healthcare bodies, nursing homes and hospitals are ubiquitous s in the US and in most parts of the world. These establishments have often been confused to be one and the same considering the similarities in the type of medical facilities offered and healthcare services rendered. Although both institutions are comprised of competent medical professionals rendering wide-range of services, they still differ in various aspects.
For instance, a nursing home, also known as convalescent home or long-term care facility, is generally described as a residence for people, particularly the elderly, and chronically ill, who require continuous medical care. Most nursing homes, though, may have a resident mix with a variety of medical conditions ("Stedman's Medical Dictionary").
Similarly, a hospital may cater to the same group of patients. However, it is not regarded as a living quarters. In this regard, a patient's stay in the hospital is limited such that, upon doctor's approval, he/she is discharged and permitted to go home.
Moreover, these establishments differ in terms of the intensiveness of the medical services provided. A nursing home provides skilled or custodial care to the elderly, specifically those having mobility and eating problems, or physically/mentally ill, who do not require the acute and rigorous treatment provided by hospitals but is no longer deemed fit to remain at home ("Carescout"). This means that the treatment coverage offered to residents may not be as comprehensive as that provided for in a hospital.
In this regard, a hospital is able to provide a relatively higher level and more intensive form of treatment for patients. In the case of general hospital in the US, this healthcare institution typically has emergency wards enabling it to deliver emergency medical services. Furthermore, a hospital may have specialized facilities for different kinds of surgery, childbirth and laboratory testing, which are usually not found in a nursing home ("Wikipedia"). In view of this, hospitals are normally better equipped than nursing homes.
Nursing homes and hospitals may also differ in the aspect of location. Given that both institutions provide medical services, a nursing home may be located within a hospital or medical center. However, it is usually a discrete facility separated from the main hospital ("Wikipedia"). On the other hand, it may also operate independently, i.e. as a stand-alone medical entity.
Setting in nursing homes and hospitals may be alike in some ways. For example, in both establishments, a nurse station is normally situated in each hallway so that nurses and attending physicians can conveniently monitor the health of residents or patients in every ward and administer required medication. Moreover, residents/patients may be billeted in double/single occupancy rooms depending on arrangement ("Wikipedia").
Nursing homes also have common areas, e.g. communal living room, den or kitchen, for all residents. Hospitals usually do not provide these common facilities for patients, albeit they may set up visitors' lounge or sleeping area for the patients' families.
In terms of ownership and billing, nursing homes are customarily privately owned enterprises or for-profit organizations. Based on an interview, nursing homes usually charge residents on a weekly or monthly basis depending on the service package agreed upon. On the other hand, hospitals may either be privately or government-owned. In the US, most hospitals are classified as private business entities. Billing is normally done upon discharge of patient with the amount depending on the type of medical services availed of.
In spite of the differences in these medical institutions noted above, their value to the healthcare the public is evident as millions of people benefit from their services. Nursing homes and hospitals continue to be the foremost healthcare providers which ensure that the medical needs of people are promptly and efficiently addressed in the US and around the world.

Stedman's Medical Dictionary-The American Heritage. 2002. Houghton Mifflin Company.
Carescout. 27 September 2005 .
Wikipedia. 27 September 2005 . Read More
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