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What is Skilled Nursing?

November 14, 2022

Healthy Aging
 young nurse helping senior black man with questionnaire

A short stay in a skilled nursing facility is often recommended after hospitalization to extend treatment plan for rehabilitation and/or clinical services. Skilled Nursing care consists of services that can only be provided by a licensed clinical practitioner including but not limited to: RN, LPN, Physical, Occupational or Speech therapist. Your Healthcare Provider might recommend transfer to a skilled nursing facility at the end of your hospital stay if you are:  

  • Recovering from an illness, injury, or surgery 
  • Require rehabilitation from physical, occupational, or speech therapists
  • Require extension of treatment to achieve healthcare goals to safely return home

“Skilled nursing facilities provide 24-hour medical care and oversight after discharge from the hospital to individuals requiring extended convalescence before discharge to home,” says Diana Jarrett RN/Chief Nursing Officer, Riverside Lifelong Health.

The goal of skilled care is to strengthen individuals to achieve their highest practical level of independence, strength, and healing for a safe return to their home. 

Which Services Does Skilled Nursing Care Include?

Skilled nursing care facilities provide a variety of services, including:

  • Physical therapy, if necessary to recover from a condition 
  • Occupational therapy, if necessary to recover from a condition
  • Speech-language therapy
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Social services for medical needs
  • Medication management
  • Medical supplies and equipment used in the facility
  • Dietary or nutritional counseling

Other services that skilled nursing care may offer are:

  • IV therapy
  • Monitoring of heart rate, blood pressure, or blood sugar
  • Post-surgical care
  • Stroke care
  • Wound care

Just as a hospital has different levels of care in the same location, the same applies to nursing facilities. There are two levels of care in a nursing facility setting: skilled nursing care and nursing facility level of care.

  • Skilled Nursing level of care is provided for short-term rehabilitation and clinical services. The length of stay is dependent on the person’s medical needs. According to experts, the average length of stay in skilled nursing is between 20 and 38 days.
  • Nursing Facility level of care (nursing home) is a more permanent residence for people in need of long-term care for treatment of chronic illness. 

Does Insurance Cover Skilled Nursing Facilities?

Skilled nursing care is covered by three different types of programs:

  • Private health insurance
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid

Skilled nursing services are covered by most insurances. Depending on your health insurance carrier, some or all of skilled nursing care costs may be covered. Check with your health insurance provider to determine your coverage. Medicare Part A covers short-term rehabilitation and recovery at skilled nursing facilities. Days 1-20 are covered at 100%. Days 21-100 are partially covered with a co-pay required beginning on day 21. The additional cost may be covered by co-insurance. 

What should I bring for my stay? 

  • 4-5 days of clothing. If needed, laundry can be washed at the skilled care center. 
  • Bring comfortable clothing that you can wear during therapy or nursing treatments. Soft pants with an elastic waistband work well.
  • Comfortable, well-fitting shoes that provide support during therapy
  • Bring any toiletries you normally use like shampoo, toothpaste, and lotion. Don’t forget to pack a toothbrush and hairbrush. 
  • Bring your hearing aids, glasses and dentures. 
  • Remember your cell phone and charger. 
  • We provide all bedding but bring your favorite blanket and pillow if it will make you comfortable. 
  • Please leave all valuables like cash and jewelry, at home. 

“Our Riverside team provides treatment that is tailored to the needs of the patient. We treat each person receiving care as an individual, with unique needs. Flexible treatment plans are developed to evaluate, and manage any health condition,” says Diana. 

If you are considering skilled nursing care for yourself or a loved one, you can learn more by visiting Riverside’s Skilled Nursing resources online.

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