How Intermediate Care Facilities Can Serve Older Adults

There are a number of older adults who can no longer live safely on their own but who also don’t need the level of specialized care provided in nursing homes. For adults who cannot live independently and require daily assistance, intermediate care facilities are one option to consider.

Intermediate care facilities (ICFs) are a residential option that can house seniors on a long-term basis. Staff can help residents with managing medical conditions and activities of daily living, including:

·        bathing

·        dressing

·        meal preparation

·        bathroom use

·        getting in and out of a wheelchair

·        taking medication

·        monitoring residents’ medical conditions

Intermediate care facilities originally focused on providing care for those with cognitive disabilities and chronic illnesses but have since adapted to serve older adults as well, according to While some facilities run independently, others are part of larger establishments. This can look like units housed in facilities such as continuous care retirement communities, for example.

Moderate Medical Care

Though ICFs have health supervision and nurses, they do not offer the same level of medical care as skilled nursing facilities. ICFs may offer periodic health care assessments and rehabilitative services, but they do not offer medical care for severe conditions.

As they provide moderate, custodial care, ICF’s can be a good option for those who are transitioning between different levels of care:

·        Residents who develop more complex health needs can move on to skilled nursing facilities better suited to meet their medical needs.

·        Those residing within a continuous care community can transition to an ICF unit should their health decline.

·        In some cases, older adults recovering from hospitalization may reside in ICFs until they can regain independence and return home.

The Benefits of an Intermediate Care Facility

·        Level of Assistance. A lot of older adults prefer to continue to live in their homes and receive in-home care, and some individuals may require more consistent help. Intermediate care facilities provide assistance around the clock.

·        Cost Savings. Intermediate care is often less expensive than other options like assisted living. Residents typically don’t have their own apartments, so the room and board fees can be smaller. Additionally, intermediate care facilities limit assistance to what residents require when it comes to their individual needs. This further lowers the cost of care.

·        Care Options. ICF’s serve a range of care needs, from those who need extensive help with daily living to those who only need assistance in a few areas. People who receive different degrees of care can also live together.

·        Flexibility. Levels of support can change as the needs of the individual resident change. Someone could move into an ICF to receive assistance with meals and medication management and then get additional help if they later develop mobility challenges. Staff at intermediate care facilities monitor and respond to the person’s needs as they change over time.