What is a Skilled Nursing Facility?

skilled nursing staff

A skilled nursing facility—or “nursing home,” as they are sometimes referred to—is a community created for those who need regular medical attention as well as assistance completing the tasks of their daily lives.

While other long-term care options offer similar services, what truly sets skilled nursing homes apart is the presence of licensed medical professionals on premises. As the name suggests, a 24/7 staff of nurses and caregivers, as well as physicians and possibly other medical professionals, are available to deliver care. Because of this, skilled nursing facilities are an ideal option for older adults as well as those recovering from a life-changing injury or illness.

In most cases, the individualized care and attention offered by skilled nursing homes them a perfect fit for those living with or recovering from traumatic illnesses. The doctors working at these communities develop specific care programs to fit each individual’s needs, while other medical professionals on staff—for instance, physical and occupational therapists—are available to help residents in need of rehabilitation. Because of this, most skilled nursing facilities are able to integrate the residents’ medical needs seamlessly into their lifestyle.

The Difference Between Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living

Many people often consider skilled nursing and assisted living as one in the same, however, there are a number of differences that distinguish the two options. The major difference that separates skilled nursing communities from assisted living communities (or any other senior care community, for that matter) is the full-time presence of a physician and other medical professionals.

While most senior care communities offer services to ease the burden of day-to-day life for their residents, skilled nursing communities are designed to support those who need help with most, if not all, of their daily tasks as well as specific medical attention. In many cases, skilled nursing homes are an ideal destination for residents who find it difficult to eat, bathe, walk, or perform similarly important tasks without the help of a caregiver.

What is a Skilled Nursing Facility vs a Nursing Home?

While the terms “skilled nursing facilities” and “nursing homes” are often interchangeable, they don’t always refer to the same type of facility. Skilled nursing facilities can offer long-term care (what one may think of as a nursing home), but they can also serve as short-term care providers for those who require temporary rehabilitation services for an injury or condition. On the other hand, nursing homes usually refer to long-term residential care, typically for seniors who require a combination of assistance with daily tasks and medical care.

Skilled Nursing Facilities Aren’t Just for the Elderly

Skilled nursing homes have long been assumed as an option for just the elderly. In reality, they serve a broad scope of residents. Because of the level of attention and assistance these communities provide, they work as a fantastic option for almost any adult who is recovering from a debilitating illness or injury.

Is Skilled Nursing the Same as Long-Term Care?

One of the biggest misconceptions about skilled nursing communities is that, once a resident checks in they will likely never leave. While skilled nursing could be considered a long-term care solution, it’s not always the case.

In many cases, skilled nursing homes are the best fit for an adult who was recently released from the hospital but still needs some assistance and additional medical care. It’s not uncommon for stroke victims or those who recently suffered great physical trauma to be briefly admitted into a skilled nursing facility while they recover. With a 24/7 staff of caregivers as well as physical and occupational therapy options all under one roof, skilled nursing homes make an ideal recovery option, even for those planning on going back to their normal lives.

How Long Can You Stay in a Skilled Nursing Facility?

The length of stay for a patient in a skilled nursing facility typically depends on their condition and care needs. While some only require short-term care for services such as injury rehabilitation, others need long-term support. Insurance coverage and financing options often contribute to the length of a patient’s stay.

How to Pay for a Skilled Nursing Facility

The cost of a skilled nursing facility will vary based on the services provided and the length of stay. There are several ways to cover the expenses of care. While long-term care is not typically covered by Medicare, as long as the eligibility requirements are met, it will typically cover up to 100 days in a skilled nursing care facility. Some may also seek private long-term insurance that meets their coverage needs. Others may also qualify for federal and state programs like Medicaid. Without coverage from these sources, out-of-pocket payments can also be applied to cover care costs, often for long-term stays in nursing homes.

Does Medicare Pay for Hospice in a Skilled Nursing Facility?

A patient with Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) typically qualifies for hospice care delivered in a skilled nursing facility or nursing home as long as certain eligibility requirements are met. To learn more about coverage options for skilled nursing care at Harrison Senior Living facilities, contact our team.

Is a Skilled Nursing Home Right for You or Your Loved Ones?

Skilled nursing homes offer not only around-the-clock assistance and medical care, they also offer a number of other benefits. Most facilities offer a true sense of community and belonging, making them a place to meet new people and forge new relationships. Many also offer onsite amenities, such as religious services, restaurant-style dining, transportation, and planned daily activities.

For those seeking medical care and assistance for themselves or their loved ones in a comfortable setting, skilled nursing facilities—like those offered by Harrison Senior Living in Georgetown, DE, and Snow Hill, MD—are a fantastic option. The teams at Harrison are equipped with licensed nurses and compassionate care providers who deliver high-quality care that meets the needs of every resident. Every Harrison facility also prioritizes social engagement and connection, providing endless opportunities for residents to spend time together and enjoy the activities they care about in a place that feels like home.

To learn more about the skilled nursing facilities of Harrison Senior Living, contact our team today.


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