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Nursing Home Vs. Skilled Nursing Rehabilitation

Though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, skilled nursing rehabilitation and nursing home care are different from one another in a number of ways.

To determine which is the best fit for your loved one, let's look at the main differences between nursing home care and skilled nursing rehabilitation.


Nursing Home Care

Nursing homes, sometimes referred to as intermediate care facilities (ICF), provide elderly individuals with meals, a room and assistance with everyday activities.

Those who reside in nursing homes usually have mental or physical struggles shortcomings that prevent them from living independently. Unlike those in skilled nursing care facilities, nursing home physicians don't prepare residents to return home and live independently.

Nursing homes function as licensed health care residences for those who need an advanced level of medical care. Skilled nursing staff like licensed practical nurses, registered nurses and certified nurses' aides are on-hand around the clock to provide medical attention.

Nursing home patients must require custodial care to the level provided in a nursing home. Furthermore, they must meet their state’s means test for assets and income if state assistance is required.


nurse-taking-senior-blood-diabetes.jpgSkilled Nursing Rehabilitation

A skilled nursing care facility is similar to a nursing home with the exception that it provides more skilled services and medical experts. Skilled nursing care typically takes place in the same setting as nursing home care. However, these services greatly differ in that skilled nursing care is directed toward rehabilitation rather than long-term residential care.

Skilled nursing rehabilitation services are designed to rehabilitate those who are sick, injured or disabled. Rehab takes place after the patient is released from a hospital or other medical facility.  Rehab care is provided in a hands-on manner.

Oftentimes, these patients have endured a sickness or injury that required a surgery. If the patient requires extensive rehabilitation such as physical therapy or speech therapy, he will receive those services until he is capable of going home. Rehabilitative stays at skilled nursing care facilities usually last about a month.

Skilled nursing care facilities are licensed by the Department of Health Services. Each must adhere to nuanced inspection and regulation requirements. Rehab nurses are trained to care for conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, as well as aiding in recovery from a surgery, injury or stroke.

These facilities also provide care for those who have acute medical conditions in which an illness, injury or infection threaten a patient's well-being. Furthermore, skilled nursing care facilities provide custodial care, general wound care, terminal illness care, assistance with personal hygiene, occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy after an invasive operation or extended illness.


Same Setting, Different Goals

Although nursing homes and skilled rehabilitation centers are similar in that they both provide patients with hands-on care performing everyday activities, they differ in the end goal for each patient. At a nursing home, providers hope to keep residents comfortable and at-ease. At a skilled rehab center, providers hope to provide patients with the skills and strength they need to return to their normal lives, while still in a warm and welcoming environment.

If your loved one recently underwent surgery, talk to their doctor to determine whether skilled rehabilitation would be an option for treatment. Surgery can permanently alter one’s mobility, strength and endurance. However, many elders can still recover from surgeries, even at an older age. If applicable, skilled rehabilitation is usually a preferred, less-permanent treatment option than a nursing home.


Rehabilitation You Can Trust

If your loved one has recently undergone surgery, they will likely need to recover in a skilled rehabilitation center. The Arbors can help them get back to their independent lives. Our nurses take pride in keeping patients comfortable, happy and healthy.

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