Defining Skilled Nursing Facilities
Skilled nursing facilities are designed to provide medical care and rehabilitation services to enable those who have suffered an illness, injury, have a disability or recently had a surgery recover to the fullest extent possible. The goal is to ensure these individuals get back to the lifestyle they are accustomed to after receiving a combination of therapies and expertise care.
Often, residents in a skilled nursing facility have been transferred there directly after a hospital stay. You may no longer require the amount of care the hospital provides, but are still unable to return home because you need more assistance than unskilled loved ones can manage.
Some of the most common reasons seniors require skilled nursing care include:
- Stroke or heart attack recovery
- Hip replacement surgery or other joint replacement surgery
- Fall recovery
- Worsening progressive diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s
Skilled nursing facilities offer both short- and long-term care services to help residents get back on their feet as soon as possible. These residents generally require more care than those residing in an assisted living community.
Skilled Nursing Care – Services and Therapies
Skilled nursing facilities employ a staff of medical professionals including physicians, registered nurses and therapists who are specially trained in the rehabilitation process. Residents are closely supervised and receive around-the-clock nursing care. The types of services provided in a skilled nursing facility include:
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapists will work with residents to restore their functionality, reduce pain and increase their mobility.
- Occupational Therapy: Enables individuals to maximize their abilities to perform daily living activities, like bathing, dressing, eating and other personal tasks.
- Speech and Language Therapy: Speech and language therapists focus on helping residents re-learn how to speak, using vocal exercises to help them communicate effectively again.
- Wound Care: A registered nurse will clean wounds and administer antibiotics to keep infection from occurring.
- Help with Daily Living Activities: Residents will receive assistance with personal hygiene if needed, as well as with meals, medication management, mobility, and more.
How to Choose a Skilled Nursing Facility
When choosing a skilled nursing facility for you or a loved one, it’s important to ask about the level of care provided first and foremost. Some facilities may only offer short-term care and rehabilitation, so if you require a longer stay this type of facility will most likely not meet your needs.
As you’re researching facilities, it’s recommended that you visit them in person if possible and speak to the staff and residents. Do the residents seem happy and comfortable? Are the staff members courteous, helpful and knowledgeable? Stop by the resident rooms to see how spacious they are and if they are well-equipped with things like adequate lighting, grab bars and non-skid flooring. Find out what type of social activities are offered to residents to keep them socially engaged in life.
Skilled nursing facilities provide some of the highest levels of both medical and custodial care. The more information you have about your or your loved one’s condition, the better you will be at finding the right fit for your needs.