Skilled Nursing Facility vs Nursing Home: What’s the Difference?

nursing home

When it comes to choices, we have plenty of options today! Watch TV for just one evening and you’ll see three companies offering similar products and each one says theirs is best.

Sometimes having too many options can bring too much confusion. We like having choices, but how do we know we are making the best choice?

Nursing homes are no different today. You hear of a place like senior living, assisted living, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, and retirement community!  How do you know the difference?

With so many options, you can start by understanding the main foundation of most facilities. They are usually classified as a skilled nursing facility or a nursing home. Let’s understand the differences and similarities.

Skilled Nursing Facility

Skilled nursing facilities have specific focuses for their patients. Those focuses come out in a few key ways.

Short Term

Skilled nursing facilities are focused on short-term recovery. Many times the patients come straight from the hospital. The residents need specialized care as they recover. Oftentimes the care involved serious rehabilitation.  

The skilled nursing facility has a transitional focus with most of its rooms. They are helping someone get strong enough to go home or go to an assisted living facility

Medically Focused

With the short-term focus, skilled nursing facilities often have many skilled medical expertise and services available.

They will often have different therapists who are full-time at the facility. They will also have more licensed nurses and fewer nurse assistants.

These facilities can have more medical personal because they often have more serious medical complications to deal with. Many times the skilled facility is the first place a stroke patient goes after the hospital. 

Financial Details

Medicare will often cover up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility after a hospital stay. They do have a deductible that starts after twenty days that the patient is responsible for covering.

After 100 days, the patient is responsible to cover all expenses out of pocket.

Nursing Home

Nursing homes take a different approach from the skilled nursing facility. They often have expert medical care, but also offer a holistic approach to life for their residences. The holistic approach can be seen by their areas of focus. 

Long Term

Nursing homes are designed to provide assistance to someone who needs help with living day to day in a long-term environment.

They assist with things such as meals, laundry, and housekeeping. Their goal is to assist each person with the daily items that might be too hard for them to handle on their own.  

Many nursing homes are built on campuses instead of just in a building. These campuses have different living options for the residents.

Some options include facilities that are more closely monitored and some options that are more for independent living. The independent options give the residents some freedom while still having the care they need. 

Residential and Medical Care

Nursing homes often base their medical care on the medical needs of their patients. Many homes now offer skilled nursing along with treatments such as physical therapy.

They also assist each resident with areas such as taking their pills or personal hygiene. They also help residents with things like getting dressed or going to the bathroom if they need that help.

Often times the facility will provide meals for the residents that can be eaten in a cafeteria or brought to the room. Different homes have different medical assistance available and you can contact them to see what they offer.     

Lifestyle Focused

A nursing home takes a lifestyle focus for each of its residents. They have activities and facilities to help the residents be as active as possible.  

Many quality nursing homes will offer assistance to the residents in areas such as diet and exercise. 

Social aspects are taken into consideration for the residents as well. Many nursing homes will encourage social activities and will plan them for the residents.  

Activity centers or activity areas are often part of the benefits of a nursing home. These are the locations for many of the activities and they also offer optional activities that the residents can participate in on their own.

The focus on a quality lifestyle and helping the residents grow and maintain that lifestyle is one of the key areas of focus for nursing homes.

Many Options

Nursing home facilities come in all shapes and sizes. Some are large with multiple housing options and some are small with similar options for everyone.

You will need to think about what kind of facility you are looking for before you do the research. Have in mind the different needs and levels of help you or your loved one would need.

As nursing homes offer more medical options for their residences, you don’t have to choose between a skilled nursing facility and a nursing home.

The convenience of medical care and the holistic focus toward their residences have made nursing homes a popular option.

This adds a level of comfort and ease for the residences as their medical needs can be taken care of on-site. You can find a facility that has multiple options for their residences easily through a web search.

Financial Details

Medicare will cover up to 100 days of rehab care at a facility, but any stay after that period will be out of pocket. You will need to check to see if the facility participates with Medicare.

Medicaid could be an option for nursing home coverage if someone qualifies and if the facility accepts it. Many facilities prefer to work with private long-term care insurance.  

Making Choices

When making your choice, take your time diligently searching for the right environment for your loved one.

You want a facility that not only cares for them but cares about them. You have many options and you want to take the time to choose the right one.

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