If you are a senior or have a senior in your life, you may have come across two different types of facilities when looking up various options for their care. These terms are “nursing homes” and “skilled nursing facilities.” While these two types of facilities and terms may seem very similar, they are actually quite different. It is important that you learn what these facilities are, how they are different, and which one is right for you or your loved one.
What is a nursing home facility?
A nursing home facility is defined as “a place for people who don’t need to be in a hospital but can’t be cared for at home.” Nursing homes typically house elderly individuals who do not necessarily have a medical condition or illness, but, instead, they need around-the-clock assistance and guidance doing their everyday tasks. For example, nursing home nurses and staff members may help an elderly person with mobility issues walk, take a shower, take care of their grooming needs, take their medications, eat, and more.
What is a skilled nursing facility?
A skilled nursing facility focuses on providing skilled nursing care to your elderly loved one. This type of care is provided by a registered nurse while a doctor supervises. When an individual receives skilled nursing care, they are typically getting the same type of care that they would in a hospital setting.
Most of the time individuals go to skilled nursing facilities to continue recovering, receiving rehabilitation, and healing from their injuries or illnesses after leaving the hospital. This ensures that they get the one-on-one care that they need to make a full recovery. Some of the services provided at a skilled nursing facility are IV therapy, physical therapy, vital monitoring, wound care, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and more.
Sometimes, nursing homes have a specific floor or area dedicated to skilled nursing care. Therefore, if your loved one goes to the nursing home facility for skilled nursing care, they will only be there temporarily to undergo rehabilitation. Then, they will be released once a doctor believes they have made a full recovery.
The differences between a nursing home and skilled nursing facility
There are several differences between a nursing home and a skilled nursing facility, including:
- Skilled nursing facilities offer a higher level of medical care than nursing homes: Skilled nursing facilities usually only hire staff with higher levels of education and training. This is because the staff is mostly nurses and doctors who are certified and trained in helping patients recover and heal from their medical conditions. Skilled nursing facilities provide a higher level of medical care than nursing homes.
- Skilled nursing facilities are ready to handle serious illnesses and injuries: Skilled nursing facilities are equipped and trained to handle serious illnesses and injuries. For example, they may be able to help your loved one with post-stroke recovery, cardiac care, injections, wound care, catheter care, pulmonary rehab, serious surgery recovery, and more.
- Nursing home facilities have staff that are always available to help residents get around and take care of their daily needs: Nursing home facilities typically hire staff with lower levels of education and training to help residents simply get around and take care of their daily needs. There is usually only limited medical care provided at this type of facility.
- Nursing home facilities are permanent or long-term: When individuals enter a nursing home, it is usually because their family no longer has the capability to fully take care of them and provide for their needs. Therefore, this is usually a permanent or long-term arrangement, meaning that the individual will likely stay at the nursing home for the remainder of their life.
- Skilled nursing facilities are usually short-term or temporary: Skilled nursing facilities are typically only used for those who are recovering from an illness, injury, medical condition, or surgery. Once the individual makes a full recovery, their doctor will likely release them from the facility.
- Nursing home facilities have a goal of keeping your loved one healthy, safe, and comfortable: The main goal of nursing home facilities is to keep your loved one healthy, safe, and comfortable throughout the day and night. Most of the time, these individuals do not have an illness or injury. Therefore, the staff simply helps them take care of their needs and live a healthy and comfortable life.
- Skilled nursing facilities have a goal of helping your loved one heal or recover from their condition: The main goal of skilled nursing facilities is to help your loved one heal or recover from their condition. While your loved one is at this facility, they will likely be participating in rigorous physical therapy, occupational therapy, and getting the medical help that they need to recover.
How to know which option is best for my senior loved one
When thinking about whether your senior loved one needs to be in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, the decision will depend on what type of care and assistance they need. For example, if your loved one just had surgery and you cannot physically help them recover, you should consider a skilled nursing facility.
However, if your loved one lives with you and keeps falling and getting hurt, roaming around the neighborhood, and refuses to bathe or eat, you may benefit from a nursing home. Although this decision is not an easy one to make, a doctor or physician can help point you in the right direction. By taking the time to consult with your loved one’s doctor, you will ensure that you ultimately make the best decision for your loved one’s care.
If you have a family member in a nursing home and suspect that they are being mistreated, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the nursing home abuse lawyers at Garcia & Artigliere at your earliest convenience. Our lawyers are here to listen to your experience, provide relevant legal advice, and help you find a way to solve this issue. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free consultation today. We have office locations in Long Beach, Los Angeles, Phoenix, New Orleans, and Louisville.
Stephen M. Garcia represents victims of elder and nursing home abuse and is known as one of the leading civil litigators in the country. He is Senior Partner at Garcia & Artigliere, where the firm’s practice is focused on elder abuse, nursing home abuse, and wrongful death of the elderly.
Find out more about Stephen M. Garcia