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What is Skilled Nursing Care for Seniors?

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It’s easy to gravitate towards the idea that more is better. But when it comes to your loved one’s care, having more people around doesn't always translate into better quality of care. The impact of one skilled nurse over several personal aides can be the difference.

One of the many misconceptions about assisted living is that it only offers long-term custodial care. However, some assisted living communities are beginning to offer skilled nursing care services to their residents. Here’s what that means.

What is Skilled Nursing Care?

When starting the search for a viable care option you’ll come across different terminology used in the care industry, and it’s important to understand the differences. There is a spectrum of care options ranging from basic needs assistance to medically licensed help. Making the wrong choice could lead to unintended consequences for a loved one. The two main players in the care industry are custodial and skilled nursing care.

Custodial care consists of any non-medical care that can be reasonably and safely provided by non-licensed caregivers. It involves help with daily activities like bathing and dressing. However, custodial care can also include assistance with household duties such as cooking and laundry.

Skilled nursing care is a whole different level of care. Professionals providing skilled care are always licensed health professionals like nurses and physical therapists. In addition to routine medical care, like tracking and administering medication, they have the ability to provide advanced medical services like physical therapy, wound care, intravenous injections, catheter care, and more. Usually, when skilled nursing care is employed, it’s medically necessary or ordered by a doctor.   

When is it Needed

Many families ask the question if skilled nursing care is right for their loved one. After all, it’s not only more expensive, but also it may not be covered by Medicaid. Unfortunately, the decision is not always black or white. It’s still best to talk to their primary health provider for a professional opinion. But, here are a few life situations where a loved one could benefit from skilled nursing:

  • Rehabilitation care due to fractures or joint replacements
  • Dementia care
  • General wound care
  • Acute medical conditions
  • Interim medical care following a hospital stay
  • Parkinson’s care
  • Terminal illness care
  • Stroke recovery
  • General rehabilitation due to weakness or physical decline
  • Diabetic rehabilitation

What Are the Benefits?

While assisted living communities are often perceived as senior housing designed for those who don’t need around the clock care, communities with on-site skilled nursing care can be a great option whether your loved one is looking for an independent lifestyle or requires near-constant assistance. Some of the benefits include:

  • Immediate medical attention. We become more prone to sickness with age. It’s not uncommon to experience a sudden change in health. A skilled care provider can be available for 24-hour care. You can rest easy knowing loved ones have rapid access to health care services.
  • Guidance on diet and nutrition. As we age, nutrition becomes even more important. Our bodies require different levels of vitamins and minerals to stay strong. Making sure our loved ones are getting the right kinds and quantities of food is essential for staying happy and healthy. Skilled providers can also give guidance on diet and nutrition for specifically for seniors.

There isn’t a one size fits all solution to long-term care. At times the best option can seem obvious, but often it can be confusing. Finding the most effective care solutions for a loved one starts with understanding their needs. There is a wide range of benefits seniors can experience from skilled care nursing, which can make this type of care the perfect fit for your loved one.

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