Merck Manual

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Types of Long-Term Care

Types of Long-Term Care



Typical Living Arrangement


Meals (in a common dining room or in the person’s room)

Social and recreational activities

Help with daily activities

In some facilities, monitoring for emergencies (such as intercoms and personal emergency response systems), services of nurses and physical therapists, and 24-hour supervision if needed

Apartments or occasionally just a bedroom with a private bath

Mostly private funds or long-term care insurance

Help from Medicaid in some states

Meals (typically in a common dining room or, in special circumstances, the person’s room)

Transportation to medical appointments or shops

Social activities

Help with personal care and sometimes help with taking medications (for example, reminding people to take their medications)

Rooms on a common hallway

Mostly private funds

Meals (usually in a common dining room, except for residents who need more care and who have meals in their room)


Social and recreational activities

As much help with daily activities and health care as needed

Varied arrangement according to need

Mostly private funds

Help from Medicare and Medicaid for skilled nursing care when it is needed


Help with daily activities

24-hour skilled nursing care

Rehabilitation (physical, occupational, respiratory, and speech therapies)

Hospice care

Oversight by a doctor

Rooms on a common hallway

Private funds


Medicare for skilled care for a short time in certified nursing homes if care is needed daily after a hospital stay lasting 3 days or more (waiver of the 3-day hospital stay available in some cases, including with some Medicare Advantage plans)