What is the difference between a skilled nursing facility and a nursing home?

There's a big difference between the help you need to bathe, eat and get dressed compared to the help you need to recover from a stroke. Nursing homes are where people usually go when they need high levels of assistance with non-medical tasks of daily living. On the other hand, skilled nursing is what people can receive when they need medical care in cases such as recovering from a stroke. Many older adults need ongoing medical care and rehabilitation after a hospital stay.

Whether your loved one is recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes are two care options available to your loved one. While the services these centers provide are similar and often overlap, there are some key differences to be aware of and understand. The term “nursing home” is often used as a general phrase to refer to the life of the elderly, but nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities are different from other housing options for the elderly, such as assisted living. Both nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities offer the highest level of care for older people who require 24-hour medical supervision but do not require hospitalization.

What differentiates nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities lies in the level of medical care provided, the staff available and the length of stay. Nursing homes provide care for older people who have medical needs that affect their ability to live independently in the long term. The typical nursing home resident has a serious health condition that requires regular specialized medical care, such as urgent medications, 24-hour monitoring, and significant assistance with food, mobility and transportation. Most nursing homes also have skilled nursing units that provide emergency services and 24-hour care when long-term residents need medical care.

Simply put, rehabilitation centers provide short-term rehabilitation care for inpatients. Skilled nursing facilities are for people who require a higher level of health care than can be provided in an assisted living community. Part of the misunderstanding is due to the fact that skilled nursing facilities are often used for short-term rehabilitation stays. That's the quick explanation, but let's dig a little deeper.

One of the key differences between care in a skilled nursing facility and that provided in a nursing home is the primary focus of that care. A nursing home is a place for people who don't need to be in a hospital but can't get care at home. Finally, to be eligible for Medicaid support for a nursing home, a patient must demonstrate income and assets below certain guidelines. In addition to custodial care, nursing home residents can get help taking medications or managing chronic illnesses.

When a patient leaves a rehabilitation center, they can return home and receive assistance at home, or they can look for a nursing home or other permanent residence options, such as a community for the elderly. A nursing home, on the other hand, is classified as custodial care and involves many non-medical support activities, such as bathing, grooming, managing medication, social and recreational activities, among others. Nursing homes provide residents with daily care, and some residents are more independent than others. A skilled nursing facility is usually found after a hospital stay and has a specific purpose of medical rehabilitation.

In the case of a nursing home, you must first determine if the nursing home accepts Medicaid payments, since not all. In many cases, your doctor helps you decide if you'll be OK in a nursing home or if you need specialized nursing care. An important difference between nursing homes and SNFs is the variety and depth of medical services available in SNFs. Because this is temporary rehabilitation care, skilled nursing is usually covered, at least partially, by health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid.

Skilled nursing facilities also provide regular access to physical, occupational or speech therapists and to rehabilitation programs for joint replacements, fall prevention, recovery from strokes and neurological conditions. You can usually live in a nursing home even if you must receive frequent medical care, such as dialysis twice a week. After a 3-day hospital stay, they were transferred to a skilled nursing facility for professional rehabilitation and wound care. .