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What’s The Difference Between A Skilled Nursing Facility And A Nursing Home?

As our loved ones grow older, it’s natural to want them to receive the best possible care. Elderly care is a crucial component of society that helps older adults cope with the many physical, emotional, and cognitive problems that they may face. 

Establishments like skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes offer the necessary services that cater to these special needs. They provide a structured and supportive environment that ensures your older loved ones receive the required medical supervision, rehabilitation services, and assistance with their daily activities. Both of these facilities offer fundamental services, although they provide different levels of care. 

At Mulberry Health, we strive to provide a structured and supportive environment focused on professional and compassionate care. We recognize that your loved ones may require different levels of care and attention, so we invite you to read the information below to learn more about the difference between a skilled nursing facility and nursing home services.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our team is here to help you make the best decision for your family.

Skilled Nursing Facility vs. Nursing Home

Taking care of an older adult who is recovering from an illness, injury, or surgery can be a challenging and emotional experience. During this time, they may require continued medical care and rehabilitation beyond what you may be able to provide at home.

Fortunately, there are options available to provide the extra care they need. Skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes can offer the support and care your loved one requires during their recovery. 

What Is a Nursing Home?

Nursing homes are designed to provide a higher level of medical care and support than most traditional home care or assisted living facilities. In these facilities, residents who are unable to handle everyday tasks independently receive 24-hour supervised care and assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, and using the toilet. 

Residents also benefit from medication management, meals, housekeeping, laundry services, and social and recreational activities, allowing residents to receive the necessary support and care while maintaining their dignity and quality of life.

What Is a Skilled Nursing Facility?

Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are specially designed to provide a high level of medical care and support to patients who require more intensive nursing care than what is available in a nursing home or through home health care. 

These facilities are staffed with licensed healthcare professionals, including registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and certified nursing assistants (CNAs), who are committed to providing 24-hour supervision and care.

Many patients who require short-term rehabilitation following a hospital stay, recovering from surgery, illness, or injury, find skilled nursing facilities to be the best option for their recovery. The compassionate and professional staff at SNFs work tirelessly to help patients recover to the point where they can return home or to a lower level of long-term care.

Is a Skilled Nursing Facility a Nursing Home?

While SNFs are often considered a type of nursing home, they specialize in providing a higher level of medical care and rehabilitation services. While both skilled nursing facilities and traditional nursing homes offer long-term care for older adults and those with chronic conditions or disabilities, there are key differences in the level and type of care they provide:

  • Level of Medical Care: SNFs are equipped to provide more intensive, medically complex care than traditional nursing homes. They offer specialized services to ensure your loved ones receive the proper care and attention required to enhance their quality of life.
  • Short-Term vs. Long-Term Care: SNFs are often used for short-term rehabilitation following a hospital stay, helping patients recover and regain independence before returning home. In contrast, traditional nursing homes typically focus on providing long-term custodial care for individuals who require assistance with daily activities and may not be able to live independently.
  • Staffing: Skilled nursing facilities generally have a higher ratio of medical staff, including registered nurses and therapists, to provide the specialized care and rehabilitation services their patients require.

Nursing homes are designed to provide more generalized care, which doesn’t necessarily require a higher level of certification or training. However, they can still employ staff with the skills and certifications that qualify under skilled nursing to provide general, ongoing care and medical monitoring.

Some of the same services performed at SNFs can also be done at nursing homes, such as assistance with activities of daily living, dialysis, medication management, blood sugar testing, and insulin injections. The main difference, however, is that nursing homes perform these services where the senior lives full-time, while SNFs perform those services in a more medically intensive, short-term setting.

What Does Skilled Nursing Care Include?

Skilled nursing care is typically provided in specialized facilities where your loved one can receive medical attention and support. The services provided by professional nursing care include a wide range of medical services, which are tailored to meet the unique needs of your loved one.

These include the following services:

  • Medical Care and Monitoring: Regular monitoring of a patient’s medical condition by registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs), including administering injections, monitoring vital signs, and managing medical equipment.
  • Rehabilitation Services: Physical, occupational, and speech therapies to help patients recover mobility, strength, speech, and daily living skills after an illness, injury, or surgery.
  • Wound Care: Managing and treating wounds, especially complex or post-surgical wounds, including wound dressing, monitoring for infections, and ensuring proper healing.
  • Intravenous (IV) Therapy: Administration and management of IV medications, fluids, and nutritional therapy.
  • Medication Management: Administering medications, monitoring for side effects, and coordinating with physicians for medication adjustments.
  • Pain Management: Developing and implementing strategies to manage chronic or acute pain, often in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team.
  • Post-surgical Care: Assisting with recovery after surgery, including pain management, wound care, and rehabilitation.
  • Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): Help with bathing, dressing, eating, and other personal care tasks for patients who cannot perform these activities independently.
  • Nutritional Support: Meal planning and feeding assistance to ensure the patient’s nutritional needs are met, especially for those with specific dietary requirements or difficulties in eating.

Choosing Between A Skilled Nursing Facility vs. A Nursing Home: Which One is Right For You?

Several considerations are crucial when selecting between a nursing home and a skilled nursing facility to ensure the right fit for your or your loved one’s needs. These include the following:

Level of Care and Specialty Needs

When choosing between a skilled nursing facility and a nursing home, it’s vital to prioritize the specialization and level of personalized care each facility offers. Facilities that specialize in certain health conditions or offer customized care plans can provide a significantly higher quality of care tailored to your or your loved one’s specific needs. 

This personalized approach ensures that all health, rehabilitation, and daily living needs are met with precision and understanding. The ideal facility should be able to cater to their health needs and offer the right services and expertise to meet their personal care requirements.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

The cost of care can be significant, so it’s understandable to have concerns about how it aligns with your budget and insurance coverage. For example, the median cost for nursing homes in the United States is $7,908 monthly for a shared room and $9,034 monthly for a private room.

Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance may cover different services and lengths of stay in each type of facility. Without coverage, you may need to finance your or your loved one’s stay with personal funds. So, before choosing a facility, we encourage you to clarify the coverage details with your insurance provider and the facility.

Quality of Life and Environment

The cleanliness and safety of the facility, along with the level of resident engagement and available amenities, can significantly impact your loved one’s well-being. A positive and stimulating environment can make a world of difference in enhancing their quality of life. It’s crucial to choose a facility that prioritizes creating such an environment for its residents.

Certifications and Staffing Expertise

Numerous studies have shown the impact of staffing and their expertise in the quality of care they provide. These studies reveal a strong positive relationship between the number of nursing home staff who provide direct care to residents on a daily basis and the quality of care residents receive, which directly impacts their quality of life.

When choosing a skilled nursing facility or nursing home, verify the facility’s certifications and accreditation. Ensure they meet state and federal regulations and assess the staff’s expertise. Above all, ensure they have sufficient staff to care for their residents’ needs.

Get Reliable, Compassionate Care at Mulberry Health

Mulberry Health is a privately owned, Indiana-based facility that provides exceptional care for people in the Tippecanoe, Clinton, and Carroll County areas. We’ve helped many patients regain hope and restore functionality through personalized care programs that aim to maintain or enhance quality of life.

We offer short-term rehabilitation following surgery or illness, specialized attention for Alzheimer’s disease, and serene, maintenance-free independent living to improve your loved ones’ quality of life. Our mission is to enrich the lives of those under our care through expert and compassionate attention.

If you are looking for a facility that prioritizes your or your loved one’s well-being, get in touch with Mulberry Health today!


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