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Though the disability community has largely shifted away from advocating for institutionalization to emphasizing community-based care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), intermediate care facilities may still be appropriate in some situations, particularly when in-home care is not feasible.
As you plan care for your loved one with special needs, you may find that an intermediate care facility could suit them well.
Intermediate care facilities (ICFs) are residential institutions for diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These establishments offer extensive care. In handling residents’ financial affairs, transportation, education, rehabilitation, and medical needs, they can lessen family responsibility for caregiving.
At a residential care facility, your loved one can get support with daily living as well as access to educational opportunities. For instance, staff at an intermediate care facility typically assist residents in developing home care, communication, meal preparation, nutrition, and social skills, in addition to providing social activities and community events. If your loved one needs speech, physical, occupational, or psychological therapy, such a facility may also offer it.
While these institutions can deliver comprehensive support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, traditional nursing homes may remain a better option for those with significant medical needs.
Though ICFs typically employ nurses and are considered low-level nursing homes, they do not offer the same level of care as other institutions specializing in medical care.
Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who do not need extensive medical care but could benefit from support may benefit from the services and structure intermediate care facilities provide.
For those on Medicaid, getting into an intermediate care facility may be easier than getting into a nursing home. This is because states cannot limit access to intermediate care facilities or use waiting lists, Medicaid.gov explains.
If your loved one qualifies for Medicaid, coverage might extend to intermediate care facility fees. Per Medicaid.gov, all states have adopted Medicaid’s optional benefit, known as ICF/IID, which funds care for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. CMS.gov reports that 100,000 people with intellectual disabilities across the United States get the benefit.
Even when they meet Medicaid’s financial eligibility requirements, your loved one must satisfy additional criteria to obtain coverage. They must have an intellectual or developmental disability or related condition, and need and receive active treatment services that involve aggressive, consistent training, treatment, and health services.
Consult a special needs planner in your area to learn more about how your loved one can qualify for this benefit.
Should you decide to explore an intermediate care facility for your loved one with a disability, research your options first.