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Skilled Nursing Benefits for Your Loved One

A health care professional checks on a senior man in a skilled nursing facility who is talking with his wife

If you’re reading this article, it’s likely you have a family member or close friend who may need skilled nursing care. It’s also likely you have questions: What is skilled nursing? What services does it include? Where is this care provided? What, exactly, are the benefits?

These are all common questions that we’ll answer below.

 

First, let’s define skilled nursing.

Skilled nursing is high-level care for seniors who are unable to care for themselves, but don’t need hospitalization. Assistance and monitoring is provided 24/7 for chronic conditions or short-term rehabilitation following an illness or injury.

By government regulation, skilled nursing care can only be performed by licensed nurses, not unlicensed caregivers. There will be a registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) on staff 24 hours a day. 

Some examples of skilled nursing care include:

  • Post-surgical wound dressing
  • Orthopedic care (care for muscle, joint and bone problems)
  • Breathing treatments
  • Support after surgery
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy
  • Intravenous therapy and antibiotics
  • Tube feeding

 

What’s the difference between skilled nursing and assisted living?

Assisted living services are a terrific solution for those who need help with activities of daily living — dressing, bathing, toileting, medication management — in order to maintain as much independence as possible. These services don’t require a licensed nurse. As already noted, skilled nursing care is more medically complex and does require licensing.

 

5 benefits of choosing a quality skilled nursing provider.

Keep in mind, your loved one will likely be a full-time resident, so the overall experience matters. In addition to the types of skilled nursing care listed in our definition, a good provider benefits both the resident and their family.  Here’s what you can expect:

  1. All the services provided within assisted living
    Based on specific needs, your loved one will be helped to dress, bathe, dine, and use the bathroom.
  2. In-house activity and physical therapy
    Movement is important to overall health, but may be difficult for seniors who are physically limited. A skilled nursing facility will engage residents in appropriate exercise.
  3. Nutrition
    A quality skilled nursing provider, like those at a Life Plan Community, will serve a variety of cuisine to fit specific dietary needs, often in consultation with a staff dietician and nutritionist.
  4. Social stimulation
    Isolation is a serious risk to older adults, especially for those who struggle with mobility. Living at a skilled nursing facility will surround your loved one with compassionate nurses, staff and other residents. Social engagement is good for emotional and holistic wellness.
  5. Peace of mind for family members
    Knowing your loved one is being cared for in a safe, comfortable setting reduces stress as you take part in the activities of your own life.

 

Is skilled nursing care provided at a nursing home?

Sometimes, yes. But let’s clarify.

As defined above, skilled nursing describes a type of care, rather than a place. Theoretically, the care could be provided anywhere, as long as the provider is licensed. 

  • Many retirement communities offer high-quality skilled nursing with enriching services, amenities and appropriate activities. 
  • Because of the high cost of 24/7 skilled services and monitoring, home care is less common than choosing a skilled nursing facility or nursing home.
  • Nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities. These are well-known terms and both signify the certification to provide skilled nursing care.

The term nursing home comes with many misperceptions. The fact is, today’s skilled nursing providers are significantly more resident-focused than even a decade ago. Change and improvements have come through consumer demand, which in turn has driven government regulation. They are now highly regulated, high-quality places of care, where residents and families can expect a positive experience.

 

How can I be sure I’m choosing the best skilled nursing option?

Look for reputable ratings and CARF accreditation.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services inspects nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities and scores them on a standard scale. Visit Medicare.gov to see unbiased government ratings and comparisons.

 

In the Chicago area, Presbyterian Homes can help.

Presbyterian Homes is a family of Life Plan Communities  that provide CARF-accredited skilled nursing in comfortable community settings throughout the Chicago suburbs. 

To learn how Presbyterian Homes can serve your family with skilled nursing care, please contact us.