One of the biggest difference between one type of senior living and another is the level of nursing care that they offer at each type of facility. When it comes to Skilled Nursing, they mean nursing care that only an RN or LVN/LPN can provide and you can find Skilled Nursing at a variety of facility types, such as assisted living or at a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF.)
Skilled nursing is a type of nursing care provided by an LVN, LPN, or RN and it can include services that range from simple to life-sustaining. On the simpler side of things, skilled nursing can mean medication management such as putting your pills into a pillbox so that you can remember to take the correct pills each day. On the more complicated side of skilled nursing, you might experience wound care, insulin injections, or even IV therapy.
In the old days, a skilled nursing facility was an “old folks home” but today, they are an intermediate nursing facility for people who are too sick to go home and not sick enough to be in a regular hospital. The patient population here can be old folks or people who are younger and recovering from surgery, undergoing therapy, or who need wound care. A skilled nursing facility offers a variety of care options from personal care to advanced nursing care. In order to be licensed as a skilled nursing facility, the unit must have an RN on staff each 24-hour period. This is because some medications must be administered by an RN. Other nursing types include LVNs and LPNs, which are the same level but titled differently in different states.
Earlier we mentioned that a skilled nursing facility is sometimes referred to as a rest home or nursing home. While that is true, there are a few subtle differences. Most nursing homes are skilled nursing facilities but not all. The big difference is the presence of an RN and the duration of the RN at the facility. A skilled nursing facility must meet both state and federal guidelines for staffing and that means that an RN must be present for a certain number of hours per day.
Another difference is the length of stay of the residents. In a nursing home, the patients live there whereas, in a skilled nursing facility, patients often stay for a few weeks or a few months and are then discharged home or to another type of facility.
Many facilities have a mixed population of patients who are permanent residents and those who are admitted for a shorter duration and then discharged home.
When you live in an assisted living facility you are responsible for most, if not all, of your own care. You may not need a nurse at all or you might need on only on occasion. In a skilled nursing facility, nursing care is routine and every patient must be evaluated by a nurse on a regular basis.
A skilled nursing facility uses a plan of care to direct the care of each patient in that facility. The Plan of Care is approved by a doctor and fulfilled under state and federal law by a nurse or healthcare professional.
On Average, the cost of a skilled nursing private room was $253 per day and around $225 per day for a semi-private room. On an annual basis, a private room can cost nearly $100,000 at $92,000 per year or $82,125 per year for a semi-private room.
The above figures are averages across the entire nation and you should expect that your location will impact how much the skilled nursing care costs as well as the funding source for payment of those services. Medicare dictates a specific amount based on location and private insurance policies not only pay differently based on the policy type but also based on the contract that the insurance company has with the facility.
In addition, not all services are covered by insurance or Medicare and you should ask what types of services are covered before being admitted to an SNF.
Most cities and towns have at least one skilled nursing facility so finding a skilled nursing facility near you is fairly easy. You can check our directory to see if there is a facility near you and also what kind of reviews that each facility in your area has. Our database makes it easy to search for specialized services, customer reviews, and costs based on your location.
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