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When it comes to senior care and senior living, there are many different choices out there, including the level of care at each facility. Knowing the difference can assure you get the right care that you need.

What is a Skilled Nursing Facility?

By definition, a skilled nursing facility is a healthcare institution that has at least one full-time registered nurse (many facilities have much more than this on staff at any given time) as well as a doctor, provides nursing care 24 hours a day, and has a place to store and dispense medication. The staff at skilled nursing facilities also help with meals and personal hygiene.

Many times patients go to a skilled nursing facility after being released from the hospital so that they can recover or heal from an injury, illness, or surgery. They remain at skilled nursing facilities until they are well-enough to go home. More often than not, skilled nursing facilities meet the criteria for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, making this type of care available for many patients.

Skilled Nursing Services

Besides basic nursing care, skilled nursing facilities also offer many other types of services. These include, but are not limited to:

While skilled nursing facilities offer different types of therapy, they also offer a variety of specialized care for patients dealing with certain conditions. These can include:

  • Stroke Recovery– Helping patients regain motor skills.
  • Parkinson’s Disease Care-Not all facilities offer this service, so be sure to check ahead of time.
  • General Wound Care-Gives antibiotics for wound care and helps to make sure wound does not get infected.
  • Acute Medical Conditions-Offers services to deal with an injury, illness, or infection.

Skilled Nursing Facility vs. Nursing Home

Some people think the two are one in the same when in fact they are very different. A nursing home is often a permanent residence for a person who cannot take care of themselves, but is not ill enough to need hospitalization. They receive 24-hour care as well as room and board. While there are certified health professionals available around the clock, it is not always guaranteed that a registered nurse or doctor will be there all hours of the day. Federal law states that there needs to be one registered nurse on duty for at least 8 hours straight, 7 days a week. There must either by a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) on duty 24 hours a day. Many nursing homes also have special wings for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

Skilled Nursing vs. Assisted Living

Assisted living options are often for those seniors who do not need around the clock medical care. While they still need basic services, they can still live independently. Assisted living facilities often provide a permanent residence for seniors as many skilled nursing facilities are only temporary stays until a patient’s health improves enough that he or she can go home.

Benefits of a Skilled Nursing Facility

The services a patient receives at a skilled nursing facility are crucial to his or her recovery. Many times this is referred to as transitional care since it often follows hospitalization and is in place until a patient improves enough to go home. Skilled nursing facilities are beneficial for several reasons:

  • 24/7 Healthcare services. Nurses and staff are on hand around the clock to help should a problem arise.
  • Physical Activity. Exercise is often a key part to recovery. Different exercise options are available depending on a patient’s condition.
  • Social Interaction. Being social can also help a patient’s recovery. Different types of social activities are often part of the daily schedule.

Cost of Skilled Nursing

As of 2012, the cost of a semi-private room at a skilled nursing facility ran about $220 per day. Even if your stay is only temporary, skilled nursing costs can add up quickly. Medicare will cover the cost of a skilled nursing facility for a limited time under certain conditions; but not for long term-care. It’s best to check your individual benefits to see what you are covered for.

Medicare services that are covered, but not limited to, include:

  • Meals
  • Semi-private room
  • Skilled nursing care
  • Medication
  • Medical Social Services

It’s important to check your individual benefits to see what may be covered for you and if you’re eligible.

Questions to Ask About Skilled Nursing Facilities

As with any type of care facility, you want to know what type of services you can expect to make sure the facility meet your needs. Here are some things to consider:

  • Is the facility close enough for family to visit? If family is going to visit on a regular basis, you want to choose a facility that isn’t too far away.
  • What types of activities are offered? Ask about social activities and daily exercise.
  • Can the facility take care of my specific need? If you are recovering from a stroke or specific illness, ask how that condition is taken care of on a daily basis.
  • Check reports & violations. See what, if any, violations or problems the facility has had in the past and how they have dealt with them.
  • Is there a skilled nursing facility near me? If there is a local facility near you, schedule a tour to get a feel for the skilled nursing environment.

Depending on the situation, ask to speak with current patients to see how they rate the care at the facility.

Is There a Skilled Nursing Facility Near Me?

If you are looking for skilled nursing near you or a loved one, let us help. Search our extensive database of available skilled nursing facilities in your area. Just type in your zip code and let us do the rest. We have a comprehensive database of skilled nursing facilities that you can browse through. Check out reviews, ratings, amenities offered and more from the largest database of skilled nursing facilities online.

If you need assistance over the phone or would like to talk to someone about covering skilled nursing costs, please feel free to give us a call. We can discuss your medical needs and recommend a skilled nursing facility that meets your requirements or your loved ones requirements. We can also walk you through skilled nursing costs and payment options. We can help determine if your Medicare, Medicaid or Medigap plan cover your skilled nursing costs.

Reviewed By

Scott Witt

Elder Home Care Expert

Scott founded Select Home Care Portland in 2009 and has been helping seniors live their best life at home or in their local senior community ever since. As an advocate for seniors, the primary philosophy has been to listen, educate and provide… Learn More About Scott Witt

Written By

Jeff Hoyt

Editor in Chief

Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt

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