How Intermediate Care Facilities Serve Older Adults

Dec 11, 2023Blog

Nurse in an intermediate care facility assisting a patient into his wheelchairMany older adults who can no longer safely live on their own may still not need the highly specialized care of nursing homes. Intermediate care facilities (ICFs) offer an option for seniors whose needs fall between independent living and skilled nursing care.

ICFS can provide long-term housing and care. Residents can get help with activities of daily living and managing medical conditions. For instance, staff can help with:

  • bathing
  • dressing
  • meal preparation
  • bathroom use
  • getting in and out of a wheelchair
  • taking medications
  • monitoring medical conditions

Initially, ICFs focused on meeting the needs of adults with cognitive disabilities and chronic illnesses. However, they have adapted to serve a broader population of older adults as well, according to

Moderate Medical Care

Even though ICFs offer health supervision and nurses, they do not provide the same level of care as at a skilled nursing facility. While residents may receive periodic health care assessments and rehabilitative services, ICFs do not offer medical care for severe conditions.

Some ICF facilities run independently, while others are part of larger establishments, such as continuous care retirement communities, where residents can progress as needed from independent living to intermediate care to nursing home care.

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. Many older adults prefer to remain in their homes and receive in-home care as they age. If they require more consistent help, however, intermediate care facilities can provide round-the-clock assistance.
  • Cost Savings. Intermediate care is relatively less expensive than other options, such as assisted living. Since residents do not typically get their own apartments, the room and board fees can be smaller than in assisted living. And in addressing the individual needs of residents, intermediate care facilities limit assistance to what residents require, further lowering costs.
  • Care Options. ICFs also offer a range of care options. Intermediate care facilities can serve those who need extensive help with daily living as well as those who require aid in only a few areas. Individuals receiving different degrees of care can live together in the same environment.
  • Support can also adapt as residents’ needs change. For example, an older adult may move into an intermediate care facility for assistance with meals and medication management. If they later develop mobility challenges, they can get additional help; ICF staff monitor and respond to the person’s needs.

Talk to an Attorney

If you are concerned about requiring consistent aid with daily living as you age, an intermediate care facility can be an option. Our experienced elder law attorneys can help you develop a plan for your long-term care. Reach out to schedule an appointment.