The level of care provided by nursing homes has improved significantly over the past few decades, and many facilities now provide much of the nursing care that was previously available only in a hospital setting. Nursing homes vary greatly in the kinds of services they offer, so it's important to choose a facility that can deliver the level of medical and personal care services you need. Care should consist of treatment prescribed by your personal physician, including a strict adherence to predetermined schedules. A good home will be state licensed, and have agreements with hospitals, other nursing homes, and health agencies to facilitate the transfer of a resident when a change in the level of care is necessary. Skilled nursing facilities provide 24-hour medical nursing care for people with serious illnesses or disabilities. This may include programs such as physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory therapy, as well as specialty care for conditions like Alzheimer's (ALLZ-hy-merz), cancer, and cardiovascular (kard-ee-oh-VAS-kyew-ler) disease. A home with a truly comprehensive plan will have an attending physician and include access to a number of specialists such as pharmacists, dietitians, dentists, podiatrists (puh-DIE-uh-trists), and ophthalmologists (awf-thuhl-MAUL-uh-jists). For more information about nursing home services, consult a physician.