What is Skilled Nursing Care?

 In Enrichment

Although we work hard to make things clear and simple at The Ohio Eastern Star Home, we also recognize that long-term care can be a somewhat confusing situation to navigate in general. This often comes down to understanding the terminology. Which leads us to the question of the day: what is skilled nursing care exactly?

When seniors or other loved ones are placed in a “health care facility” or a “long term care facility” it’s understandable that they may not know exactly what type to look for. “Skilled nursing care” is a great example of a term that can cause some real confusion. So, what type of care do skilled nursing facilities provide, and how does it differ from other types of long-term care?

Long-Term Care

Long-term care refers to the care given to individuals who will need additional care for the rest of their lives, often in a permanent care facility. These long-term care facilities may go by many names. Other names for long-term care include the following:

  • Nursing home
  • Memory care
  • Skilled nursing facility

Oftentimes, these care facilities offer multiple types of care under one roof. So, let’s look at an example of what that might look like.

Say someone in need of permanent care due to their physical or mental status moves into one of these facilities. At some point while living in their new home, they experience a surgery/injury/illness that requires a hospital stay. Once they return to the care facility, this individual temporarily requires (as is often the case) a higher level of nursing care until they can fully recover and return to their baseline health status. This higher level of medical nursing care is what is frequently referred to as “skilled care”, and this type of care explains where the “skilled nursing facility” title comes from. If the long-term care facility also offers skilled nursing care, the individual may spend a period of time in that section of the facility before returning to their regular apartment.

A masked nurse in a skilled nursing care facility during the pandemic.

Levels of Care

Long-term care levels exist on a spectrum. Sometimes, the facilities that offer one level of care will operate independently, but there are also organizations that combine some or all of these levels of care within one location. Organizations that offer all levels of care in one location (such as The Ohio Eastern Star Home) are called Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) or Life Plan Communities.

Here are the different levels of long-term care you may encounter:

  1. Independent Living
  2. Assisted Living
  3. Skilled Nursing
  4. Nursing Homes
  5. Rehabilitation

What is a Skilled Nursing Facility?

A skilled nursing facility (abbreviated “SNF” and often pronounced “sniff”) describes a long-term care facility that offers more than just short-term skilled nursing services.

Skilled care may be provided at the same care facility where an individual lives, it all depends on how the facility is licensed to operate. If so, this sometimes occurs in a separate section of the building where the staff are specifically trained to provide a higher level of nursing care, but they may also receive the skilled care in the same area as they normally live.

Long-term care facilities may also provide skilled nursing care to short-term residents residing temporarily in that facility for the duration of their skilled care and then returning to wherever they were living before.

What Is the Average Length of Stay in a Skilled Nursing Facility?

Skilled nursing care is always temporary. Insurance companies place limitations on how many days of skilled nursing care they will pay for. To this end, these insurance companies often require individuals to meet rigorous standards in order to continue receiving skilled care services.

How Do You Pay for a Skilled Care Facility?

Paying for skilled nursing care is different than paying for, by way of example, a nursing home. For example, the most common methods of paying for nursing home care are privately, through a long-term care insurance policy, or in some facilities, through Medicaid. For skilled care, however, one would pay through insurance like Medicare.

A caretaker and an OESH elder smiling.

In Need of Skilled Nursing Care or Other Care Services?

The Ohio Eastern Star Home offers a full range of care options. These include skilled nursing care, physical rehabilitation, independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care. Call us today at (740) 397-1706 to discuss care options!