Far too often the terms skilled nursing and assisted living are used interchangeably. The truth is that the type and quality of care are widely different. Skilled nursing care, for instance, offers specific and specialized care in order to aid in recovery and rehabilitation. The biggest and, for many seniors facing a need for skilled care, most important difference is that skilled nursing is short-term. The average stay for skilled nursing is 28 days, according to Senior Advice. There are, of course, other differences between the two to consider as well.
Insurance Coverage for Skilled Nursing Care
Another huge issue for patients requiring skilled care involves the cost — especially for patients who are using Medicare to pay for their treatment. According to the U.S. Government's Official Medicare website, skilled nursing care is fully covered for the first 20 days of care in each benefit period. Patients or their private insurance companies are responsible for $176 per day from day 21-100 in each benefit period. They are responsible for all costs beginning day 101 and each day afterward.
From a financial perspective, there is every incentive for patients to commit to recovering and rehabilitating from injuries and illnesses as quickly as possible — without further injuring themselves.
What Kind of Skilled Nursing Services are Included?
In addition to being under a qualified nurse's care 24/7 for the duration of treatment, having a semi-private room, and having meals provided, patients receiving skilled nursing services may also receive many of the following services:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech-language pathology services
- Medical social services
- Dietary and nutrition counseling services
This is in addition to things like medical equipment, medications, medical supplies, etc. during the skilled nursing care and transportation by ambulance, if necessary for certain services not available at your skilled nursing care facility.
Understanding the Differences
Nursing homes are facilities designed for the long-term care of patients. Most patients receiving nursing care in a nursing home are not expected to return to their homes in time.
These patients require assistance for some or all of their daily care and treatment. Many will thrive in this type of protective environment. They understand, when moving in, that this is likely to be a permanent placement for them and build social communities with other residents who call these facilities home.
Unlike skilled nursing, Medicare does not provide payments for nursing home care. Patients must rely on long-term care insurance, personal finances, or Medicaid if they qualify under their state laws.
Skilled nursing can be a boon for patients seeking to recover quickly from a qualifying injury or illness. Understanding the difference between skilled nursing and nursing homes can be vital for the morale of patients in need of this specialized care.
For more information, contact a skilled nursing service today.