In North Carolina, there are more than 425 nursing home facilities housing over 36,000 residents. Families searching for elder care benefit from understanding the differences between skilled nursing care and nursing homes. Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) involve medical specialists devoted to recovery and rehabilitation needs. These facilities are typically used for stroke recovery, terminal illnesses, wound care, rehab or constant medical care. Nursing homes don’t require the same level of specialized medical personnel and the residents are more independent and physically able.
Skilled nursing facilities
Personnel at skilled nursing facilities may provide the same type of personal care that a patient receives at a nursing home, such as help with grooming, feeding, hygiene and using the toilet. Some personnel commonly found at SNFs include registered nurses, physical therapists, speech therapists, nurse practitioners and physicians. After leaving the hospital, recovering patients may enter SNFs for temporary stays as short as 20 days. Patients may also receive skilled nursing care from a registered practitioner at their home.
More on nursing homes
Residents at nursing homes typically have to access their medical services off-site as needed. In comparison to skilled nursing care, medical care is limited. Nursing homes provide residents with mobility assistance, privacy, housekeeping, activities, and meals, as do SNFs. While skilled nursing care accommodates short-term recovery needs, nursing home stays are typically designed for long-term stays. Families with concerns about the quality of care or nursing home abuses may be more to invest in in-home skilled nursing.
Skilled nurses may also train family members to perform routine procedures. Nursing home care may be covered by Medicare or Medicaid, if certain criteria are met. If the SNF stay is 20 days or less, the cost may be covered. If the stay is 20 to 100 days, co-insurance is typically used. If the SNF stay lasts over 100 days, it’s unlikely to be covered. If a physician prescribes skilled nursing care for a housebound patient, the costs may be covered by Medicare.