Does My Loved One Need a Skilled Nursing Facility?

A nurse and an elderly man playing chess

When your loved one requires more care than you can give them, receiving outside help feels like a relief. Finding the right level of care, however, is not always easy. Do they need full-time care? Would they prefer a skilled nursing facility? What about assisted living? And what’s the difference? While answering these questions is not easy, gaining knowledge is the best place to start.

Here’s what you need to know about skilled nursing and whether it could be the right option for your loved one.  (You can also read more about assisted living and rehabilitation).

What is Skilled Nursing?

In skilled nursing, an individual receives constant care from skilled professionals. Day or night, a doctor or nurse practitioner is always on call. While receiving this care, each patient receives a specialized treatment plan developed by a physician or nurse. The facility may also be referred to as a nursing home.

Skilled nursing may also include additional, specialized medical care such as rehabilitation, speech therapy, physical therapy, reconstructive nursing and memory care. Unlike assisted living, time spent in skilled nursing may vary. An older adult may need a short-term rehabilitative stay after an injury or long-term nursing care with memory support services. It is highly personalized to the needs of the individual patient.

Who Qualifies for Skilled Nursing?

In the United States, a physician’s order is typically required for admission to a skilled nursing facility. Patients who may benefit from skilled nursing include those who:

  • Have experienced a stroke.
  • Have been in an accident.
  • Need rehabilitation.
  • Need tube feedings and other similar care.
  • Have physical or mental conditions that are ongoing and require care.
  • Need memory support.

For some, a stay in a skilled nursing facility is temporary (for instance, for a short time after being discharged from the hospital or having surgery) and may include rehabilitation. For others, it is a long-term arrangement.

Think about whether your loved one’s condition or current level of independence requires 24/7 care and supervision. If so, skilled nursing might be what they need.

Finding The Right Care

When looking for a skilled nursing facility, search for a place that feels like home – not a hospital. Next, consider what options are feasible based on your budget.  Evaluate your loved one’s insurance coverage and whether they qualify for Medicare or Medicaid coverage.

Next, look at the facility’s reputation and read online reviews, paying attention to details.  How long has it been in operation? Is the facility adequately staffed and well-trained? Is the staff friendly, helpful and able to provide individual attention?

One of the best ways to get a feel for a certain facility is to arrange an in-person tour. This allows you to experience the location for yourself and meet the staff who will be caring for your loved one.

Frequently Asked Questions

What services do skilled nursing facilities offer? Skilled nursing facilities offer a range of services, including 24/7 medical supervision, rehabilitation therapy (physical, occupational and speech), wound care, medication management, pain management and specialized care for conditions such as diabetes or respiratory issues.

Are skilled nursing facilities equipped to handle Alzheimer’s or dementia care? Yes, many skilled nursing facilities have specialized memory care units with trained staff to care for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. These units provide a secure environment and activities tailored to their cognitive needs.

How is care personalized in a skilled nursing facility? Skilled nursing facilities create individualized care plans based on residents’ specific needs. Care plans are regularly reviewed and adjusted to ensure residents receive personalized medical attention, therapy and assistance with daily activities.

How much does skilled nursing care cost, and is it covered by insurance? The cost varies based on location and the services needed. Health insurance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid often cover skilled nursing care for eligible individuals.

Can family members visit residents in skilled nursing facilities? Yes, family members can typically visit residents in skilled nursing facilities. However, visiting hours and policies might vary. It’s best to check with the facility about their specific visitation guidelines.

Care Options at Advent Christian Village

Moving to a skilled nursing facility is no small decision, which is why it’s important to find the right care for your loved one. Good Samaritan Center is a 161-bed, Medicare and Medicaid skilled nursing facility offering short-term rehabilitative stays, long-term nursing care and long-term memory support.

Our skilled nursing and rehabilitation center has an outstanding reputation for providing quality senior care services in a pleasant, comforting atmosphere. It’s part of the continuum of care offered at Advent Christian Village, in addition to assisted living, in-home care, independent living and more. Contact our team to schedule a tour today.

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