Skilled Nursing Care: What Is It?

Senior receiving skilled nursing care from doctorTruth be told, most people don’t think about skilled nursing care until an aging parent, spouse or other family member needs more help than a caregiver can provide.

Skilled nursing care facilities, commonly referred to as nursing homes, are licensed healthcare facilities that are inspected and regulated by a state’s Department of Health Services.

They offer long- and short-term care for individuals who need rehabilitation services or who suffer from serious or persistent health issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease, that are too complicated to be tended to at home or at an assisted living facility.

What to Expect from Skilled Nursing Care

Nursing homes provide custodial and skilled nursing care 24/7. Skilled nursing care involves trained professionals performing services that are needed temporarily due to an injury or illness, including:

     • a nurse attending to a post-operative wound or dispensing and monitoring intravenous medications.
     • a physical therapist working with a resident to rectify strength and balance issues.
     • a speech therapist assisting a resident in reclaiming their ability to communicate following a stroke.
     • an occupational therapist helping a resident to become independent again, particularly when it comes to dressing, personal hygiene and eating.

A skilled nursing care facility also provides:

     • pharmaceutical, laboratory and radiology services.
     • social and educational activities.
     • laundry services.
     • limited transportation
     • end-of-life or hospice care.
     • respite care.

Some facilities are specially designed to accommodate seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, dementia or respiratory ailments. Staff also provide custodial or personal care that focuses on helping residents with activities of daily living, such as:

     • bathing.
     • dressing.
     • personal hygiene.
     • eating.
     • maneuvering in and out of bed and/or walking.
     • incontinence.