You're Using "Skilled Nursing" Wrong
Senior living options seem to be growing by the day. Exploring all these options can be overwhelming as it is...and then there's all the lingo! Independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, long-term care, rehab, respite...confused yet? A lot of people are. In fact, a lot of people use the wrong language when conducting their senior living research, which leads to more confusion when inquiring about lifestyle options at various communities.
One of the most commonly misused terms is "skilled nursing". Most people think skilled nursing is a classic "nursing home", where an individual receives a high level of care for the foreseeable future. While skilled nursing care often takes place at a nursing home, it is not long-term (forever) care. Essentially, it's rehab.
Let's take a closer look at the differences between skilled nursing and long term care.
SKILLED NURSING: AKA "REHAB"
Skilled nursing, also known as transitional care or rehab, is a type of medical care provided by licensed (re: "skilled") professionals, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and physical, occupational, and speech therapists. It is usually intended for individuals who require recovery and rehabilitation - intensive medical care and support on a temporary basis, usually after a hospital stay, injury, or surgery. Skilled nursing programs are often offered at nursing homes, but the type and duration of care is different. Skilled nursing provides short-term stays, ranging from a few days to several weeks, until the patient can return home or be transferred to another type of care facility.
Skilled nursing programs provide a range of services, including wound care, IV therapy, medication management, physical and occupational therapy, and other medical treatments. These services are typically covered by Medicare and other health insurance plans, which makes skilled nursing an affordable option for those who require intensive medical care on a temporary basis while they recover.
LONG-TERM CARE: AKA "NURSING HOME"
On the other hand, long term care, commonly known as nursing homes, provide ongoing care for individuals who require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, and eating. Long term care facilities offer a range of services, including meals, medication management, social activities, and personal care assistance.
Long term care facilities are intended for individuals who can no longer live independently and require 24-hour supervision and support. These facilities often have a higher staff-to-patient ratio than skilled nursing facilities to ensure that residents receive the care and attention they need. This is your classic "nursing home" where people go to stay for the foreseeable future, as opposed to shorter stays for rehab.
Long term care facilities are often funded through private pay or Medicaid. Unlike skilled nursing, long term care is not typically covered by Medicare.
In summary, while both skilled nursing and long term care offer care and support for seniors, they are intended for different types of situations. Skilled nursing is for individuals who require intensive medical care on a temporary basis, while long term care is for individuals who require permanent assistance with activities of daily living.
Intended for individuals who require intensive medical care and support on a temporary basis (typically following an illness, hospitalization or surgery)
Short-term stays, usually ranging from a few days to several weeks
Provided by licensed medical professionals, including registered nurses and therapists
Services include wound care, medication management, physical/occupational therapy, and other medical treatments
Covered by Medicare and other health insurance plans
Long Term Care:
Intended for individuals who require ongoing assistance with activities of daily living
Long-term stays, typically for individuals who can no longer (and likely never will) live independently
Provided by personal care assistants and other support staff
Services include meals, medication management, social activities, and personal care assistance
Funded through private pay or Medicaid, not typically covered by Medicare
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