Once a person leaves the hospital after being treated for or recovering from serious illness, surgery or injury, the next step is usually admittance into a skilled nursing facility. Some seniors and families prefer to return home after a hospital stay, rather than entering a senior living community with skilled nursing care. While keeping seniors in their own homes to recover is an understandable decision, home health care and even standard nursing homes simply can’t match the many benefits of skilled nursing care. The skilled services, medical attention, and insurance coverage alone are reasons to seriously consider skilled nursing care, but there are many often-overlooked benefits to consider as well.
7 Benefits of Skilled Nursing Care
1. Lowers Risk of Rehospitalization
When seniors are hospitalized for an illness or injury, the potential for rehospitalization is always a concern. The goal of skilled nursing care is to avoid rehospitalization by either regaining some level of independence through rehabilitation or staying in skilled nursing for longer periods of time with the comforts of home, rather than a hospital. One of the standard benefits of skilled nursing care is ongoing medical monitoring to avoid hypertension and other health risks that often occur after a hospital stay. Wound care, injections, catheter care, physical therapy, and monitoring of vital signs are all skilled nursing care services that help seniors stay out of the hospital.
2. Specialized Therapy
Of all the skilled nursing benefits, specialized therapy is perhaps the most impactful. Many communities offer Medicare-approved rehabilitative care, including physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Physical therapy typically includes strength training to improve mobility and help with fall prevention, as well as pain management for those suffering chronic pain. Occupational therapy is used to treat causes that keep seniors from doing daily activities and help them regain or maintain some level of independence. Speech therapy focuses on the treatment of communication problems and speech disorders caused by an injury or illness such as stroke or brain injury. The primary benefit of skilled nursing care is that all three therapies are not only available, but often work together to provide the best possible outcome for the person receiving such care.
3. Social Engagement
Sudden changes in health can be overwhelming for seniors, especially after a debilitating illness or injury. Isolation can make it even worse. Being surrounded by caring nurses, team members, and other residents is one of most valuable but often overlooked benefits of skilled nursing care. In many communities with skilled nursing care, just like independent living and assisted living, residents are able to participate in engaging, uplifting social programming that’s designed for their level of mobility. Such programming has been shown to significantly benefit skilled nursing residents’ physical health progress and, equally important, their mental health.
4. 24/7 Care
Skilled nursing facility residents have access to not just around-the-clock scheduled care, but are also protected by the presence of immediate emergency care available for any medical situation that might occur. Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants are standard caregivers in most communities. In addition, on-site physicians specialized in internal medicine, gerontology, podiatry, dentistry, optometry and neurology are also frequently on-site to provide a wide range of medical care.
5. Personalized Care/Assessment
In skilled nursing care, either long-term or short-term, community team members go to great lengths to build relationships with residents rather than just provide medical care. They tailor treatments to the individual, an approach that runs counter to the standardized care found in many hospitals and nursing homes.
Medicare-certified skilled nursing facilities require comprehensive patient assessments for every new resident who enters the facility. Daily assessments and skilled care start the day you arrive at the skilled nursing facility. The first recorded assessment must be within the first 8 days of your stay, known as the 5-day assessment. Medicare also requires recording assessments on the 14-day, 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day mark of your covered stay. The skilled nursing facility must do this until you’re discharged, or you’ve used all 100 days of coverage in your benefit period. Each assessment includes:
- Your current physical and mental condition
- Your medical history
- Medications you’re taking
- How well you can do activities of daily living (such as bathing, dressing, eating, getting in and out of bed or a chair, moving around, and using the bathroom)
- Your speech
- Your decision-making ability
- Your physical limitations (such as problems with your hearing or vision, paralysis after a stroke, or balance problems)
6. Dietary Assistance
Properly balanced nutrition is critical for seniors in recovery. Unfortunately, being in recovery also makes it more difficult for seniors with medical conditions to prepare and eat nutritious meals on a regular schedule. That’s why dining services at communities are among the most valuable skilled nursing benefits. Communities with skilled nursing care often offer multiple dining options with restaurant-quality food. More importantly, communities employ certified dieticians who work with residents to create a meal plan complete with all nutritional needs.
7. Cost & Coverage
An immense benefit of skilled nursing care is how you pay for skilled nursing care and what health insurance like Medicare covers. Medicare Part A will cover a total of 100 days of care in skilled nursing care, provided certain criteria are met. However, after day 21, a daily coinsurance payment is required. You must have a recent qualified hospital stay, meaning you must have stayed in the hospital for a minimum of three consecutive days receiving medically necessary care. You must have confirmation from your doctor to verify that you require daily skilled nursing care services or therapy. And the facility to which you’re admitted must be Medicare-certified.
Medicare covers both in-home health care and care at a skilled nursing facility. However, coverage is more limited for in-home care. For instance, while it will pay for prescription drugs for inpatients, it won’t cover medications for individuals who receive care at home. Likewise, Medicare won’t pay for meals to be delivered to the home, but it does cover meals at nursing facilities.
Skilled Nursing That Gets Results
At Harbour’s Edge, our skilled nursing combines a homelike environment with 5-Star care and a wide variety of social, recreational, and cultural activities to help promote socializing and friendship. Plus, with delicious dining options and an ever-present view of the Intracoastal Waterway, skilled nursing residents find joy in each day. To learn more about our skilled nursing services, contact us by filling out the form at the bottom of this page or call us any time at 888-543-5176.