Skilled Nursing vs. Other Senior Care Options
Learn more about Skilled Nursing and how it compares to various other senior care options, including Rehabilitation, Respite Care, Hospice, Assisted Living, Independent Living, Memory Care, Home Care, and more.
Skilled Nursing, (sometimes referred to as Nursing Home care,) is an umbrella term for both Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living. A Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) can be used for long-term care or short-term care, such as rehab. A SNF provides a high level of care over a shorter, defined period, typically no longer than 100 days, and is best for anyone seeking in-patient treatment and rehabilitation from licensed nurses and other medical professionals. Additionally, Skilled Nursing Facilities provide daily access to therapy for various conditions, such as joint replacements, stroke recovery, and neurological disorders.
In this article, we will discuss in-depth what Skilled Nursing is and how it compares to a variety of senior care options available to you or your loved one. This guide will become your master reference when considering care similarities and differences between long-term and short-term Skilled Nursing, Rehabilitation, Respite Care, Hospice, Assisted Living, Independent Living, Memory Care, Home Care, and more.
Skilled Nursing vs. Long-Term Care
Long-term care is for seniors who need assistance from a caregiver for Activities of Daily Living, such as eating, bathing, taking oral medications at the correct time, and ongoing access to licensed medical care. Long-term care at a SNF is available for seniors whose needs are not met under the licensing of Assisted Living, including, but not limited to, a feeding tube (G-Tube), ventilator, 24-hour IV, or other skilled care needs.
Secondly, SNF care is an excellent option if your loved one qualifies for Medicaid, has exhausted all private pay funds, and requires Medicaid to assist with the cost of their care needs. In this case, a long-term care facility may be part of a Skilled Nursing Facility and ideal for residents who need hands-on care and around-the-clock supervision, but don't need the specialized care of Skilled Nursing.
Skilled Nursing vs. Short-Term Care
Generally, qualifying stays at a SNF require three days in the hospital as an in-patient (not under observation). Your physician then determines if it would be beneficial to receive continued physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy.
After a qualifying hospital stay or event, you or your loved one may need to stay for a short time in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) for rehabilitation. Medicare will pay for your stay, which can last up to 100 days, with the first 20 days covered at 100%, and days 21-100 covered at 80%.
Skilled Nursing vs. Respite Care
Skilled Nursing and Respite Care are fantastic options to help you or your loved one remain as independent as possible while getting older. Respite Care is also for seniors recovering from a hospital visit or other health circumstances who have a designated caregiver that has to take some time away from their duties. While a caregiver is on vacation or not available for other reasons, a senior can receive temporary assistance in Respite Care.
Skilled Nursing vs. Hospice
Should your loved one start experiencing a medical decline, like late-stage Alzheimer's or terminal cancer, hospice care can be very helpful. Hospice services are a part of Skilled Nursing and are covered through Medicare for those that qualify. To qualify for hospice, someone needs to be terminally ill with less than six months of life expectancy.
Skilled Nursing vs. Palliative Care
Palliative care is similar to hospice in that it is also a part of Skilled Nursing and covered by Medicare for qualifying individuals. However, the main difference is that Palliative care starts at the moment of diagnosis and does not depend on the stage of the condition, and will provide life-prolonging treatments.
Skilled Nursing vs. Continuum Care Retirement Community (CCRC)
A Continuum Care Retirement Community (CCRC) allows seniors to age in place while living in the same community. As seniors' health changes, they will be able to move to different sections within the community and receive necessary care. CCRCs will have Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Skilled Nursing care options.
Is Skilled Nursing Part of Assisted Living?
Skilled Nursing is not a part of Assisted Living, and they vary in many ways, including the level of care, independence, setting, and more. Skilled Nursing is considered a medical setting or environment, while Assisted Living is more of a residential setting.
While licenses vary by state, all Assisted Living Communities offer residents assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, grooming, continence, escorts, transfers, meals, medication management, and more. While residents have access to a caring staff, they will still handle most of their activities by themselves. However, when someone needs constant nursing care and assistance with a majority, if not all, ADLs, they should move to a Skilled Nursing Facility.
Is Skilled Nursing Part of Memory Care?
Skilled Nursing care is more intensive than Memory Care, as it is a residential facility that provides 24-hour medical care. Memory Care is specialized long-term care for those experiencing cognitive decline or who have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's. In contrast, Skilled Nursing services are for short-term or long-term medical needs.
Is Skilled Nursing Part of Independent Living?
Skilled Nursing is not a part of Independent Living. Independent Living is for seniors who desire assistance with some activities and home maintenance, but can still live independently. These services include housekeeping, meals, activities, and transportation.
Is Skilled Nursing Part of Home Care?
Home Care is a private pay service and is not considered a type of skilled care. It provides support services to help seniors with cleaning, laundry, bathing, errands (like grocery shopping and taking them to the doctor), meal preparation, and other household chores. However, Home Health Care is considered a specialized type of care where a licensed medical professional is relied upon to administer medication management, IV therapy, or other requirements.
Typically, people start with help a few hours a day to a few times a week when it comes to Home Care assistance. Once their needs increase to full days, it may be time to consider moving to an Assisted Living Community. At a later point, they may seek Skilled Nursing, as it offers assistance beyond those provided in an Assisted Living Community. Review the top benefits of Skilled Nursing in the next article.
Find a Care Facility That Fits Your Needs in Your Area
If you or a loved one is transitioning out of the hospital (or might find yourself in that situation soon), a Skilled Nursing Facility is likely the best option. As you continue to recover from an injury, illness, or surgery, the professional staff at an SNF can provide a high level of medical care. Referah is here to help you get started and give you the tools to find trusted Skilled Nursing Facilities in your area. Begin your search today.