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Skilled Nursing Facility Vs. Nursing Home: What’s The Difference?

Skilled Nursing Facility vs. Nursing Home: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to caring for seniors, there is no one-size-fits-all. That’s why senior living communities specialize in different types of care. A senior who needs help with everyday activities for the long term is much different than a senior who needs help recovering from an accident or a stroke.

Understanding the difference between the different types of facilities and services can be confusing. Read on to learn more about the services at a skilled nursing facility vs. nursing home.

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Skilled Nursing Facility vs. Nursing Home

Nursing homes are a good fit for seniors who require daily, non-medical assistance with everyday tasks such as moving, cooking, and cleaning. 

On the other hand, skilled nursing facilities are a good fit for seniors who require medical care over the short and long term. Seniors who are recovering from an injury or seniors who have a terminal illness and need around-the-clock care are better served by skilled nursing facilities.

It is important to find the right facility for a particular senior’s needs because a nursing home is not set up for proper care of a senior in need of daily medical services. Similarly, a skilled nursing facility is not appropriate for a senior who simply needs help with everyday tasks.

Services at Skilled Nursing Facilities

One of the major differences between a skilled nursing facility vs. nursing home is the range of services available. Skilled nursing facilities are often staffed with doctors, registered nurses, physical therapists, and even speech therapists.

Seniors in need of medical services are provided assistance by a medical professional who will help them recover or manage a long-term illness. Types of medical services provided at skilled nursing facilities include:

  • Custodial care
  • Nutrition therapy
  • Wound care
  • Rehabilitation
  • Cardiac care
  • Stroke recovery
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy

Services at skilled nursing facilities can be offered for both long-term and short-term needs. For example, a senior may only be in a skilled nursing facility for a few weeks or months while they recover from an injury. 

On the other hand, some seniors who are suffering from chronic conditions or who need around-the-clock care may live permanently at a skilled nursing facility.

Services at Nursing Homes

Modern nursing homes are less specialized than skilled nursing facilities and do not provide the same level of medical care. Residents will receive some medical services, like assistance with taking medication, but they will need to access other medical services off-site.

Nursing homes are designed to help seniors with everyday tasks such as dressing, eating, and addressing issues with mobility. Regular nursing homes are appropriate for seniors who need assistance but not daily medical care or rehabilitation.

Services at nursing homes include:

  • Room and board
  • Monitoring of medication
  • Dispensing of medication
  • Personal care
  • Emergency care
  • Transportation to outside emergency care
  • Social activities

Unlike skilled nursing facilities where a resident may check out after they heal or complete rehabilitation, it is not common for residents in nursing homes to leave and return to independent living once they make the transition.

Other Types of Care Services

Skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes are not the only types of care services provided for seniors. Other available services include in-home personal care, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and homemaker/housekeeping services.

In-Home Personal Care Services

Seniors should be able to stay comfortable in their family home without having to sacrifice the things they need. In-home personal care provides seniors with assistance with daily tasks such as showering, dressing, and using the restroom.

Staff providing personal care services are trained to provide compassionate assistance and make seniors feel comfortable at all times.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care

Seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia often need specialized care to keep them safe and healthy. Staff who provide this specialized care are highly trained professionals with experience assisting seniors suffering from a range of cognitive impairments. 

Specialized care can be offered in-home or in an assisted living community where residents get the support they need to navigate their illness.

Homemaker/Housekeeping Services

Sometimes seniors aren’t ready to leave the family home but need a little assistance keeping up with household chores. As seniors age, regular cleaning and housekeeping chores can become more difficult to keep up with. 

Homemaker services include things like routine cleaning, emptying trash, changing bedding, caring for pets, and watering plants. Visits can be scheduled daily, weekly, or at other intervals that meet the senior’s needs.

When comparing a skilled nursing facility vs. nursing home or any other type of care, it is important to consult a professional about the care that is most appropriate.

The Right Care Services Can Dramatically Improve the Quality of Life for Seniors

As seniors start to experience issues with mobility, cognitive ability, and illnesses, they are susceptible to experiencing a decline in quality of life. The right care services ensure that all of their needs are met and that they are supported to lead the lives they want to live well into retirement. 

If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater San Diego, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices throughout California including: Campbell, CARoseville, CASan Marcos, CA, and San Mateo, CA.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.

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