What type of care do I need? Skilled nursing vs. assisted living

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skilled nursing or assisted living - how to know which type of care is needed for your loved one

The baby boomer generation is quickly becoming the largest generation in history to reach retirement age. The population of Americans over 65 is expected to rise from 13 percent to 20 percent by 2030. Some are calling the surge in the aging population the “silver tsunami,” as it will inevitably cause a wave of effects across all aspects of our lives.  As this generation reaches retirement age, many millennials face making decisions as to how to care for their loved ones. In this blog, we’d like to give you a run-down of what different levels of care entail so that you have the information you need as you plan for the future. 

What is skilled nursing?

Skilled nursing care involves treatments “that can only be done by licensed nurses” (VeryWellHealth). Skilled nurses provide many types of care from wound dressings to tube feedings, and they are qualified to assist with rapidly changing health. These facilities offer this type of care 24 hours a day. 

Skilled nursing care is considered “short-term” and is provided to people who need rehabilitation but will not need long-term care. If your loved one needs help regaining mobility or recovering from an injury, such as a stroke, a skilled nursing facility is what you need. These facilities usually provide rehabilitative services, including physical, occupational, and speech therapies. 

Medicare covers treatment at a skilled nursing facility if a doctor has determined that the patient needs the rehabilitative care offered at such a facility. 

What is assisted living?

Staff members in assisted living housing provide long-term care to loved ones who need help with daily life and different levels of medical and personal care (WebMD). Housing can take the form of individual rooms, apartments, or shared rooms. These domiciles are meant to resemble home while also being designed for easy mobility and independence. 

Unlike skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities are not necessarily staffed by licensed nurses. However, these facilities should offer 24-hour emergency care. Other services available at an assisted living facility include meals, medication monitoring, housekeeping, and recreational activities. 

The ideal assisted living facility will feel as much like home as possible. Such facilities treat your loved ones as members of their own families and provide plenty of enrichment so that they can enjoy their golden years. Visit different facilities until you find the one that will be the best fit for your loved one. 

When you look into assisted living communities, make sure they are licensed, insured, and prepared to respond to medical emergencies. Other things to consider include the type of contract agreement, additional nursing services available, and how residents manage their finances. 

Medicare does not cover assisted living, but Medicaid will provide assistance if a certain low-income requirement is met. 

How to determine the type of care your loved one needs

If your loved one needs short-term care and rehabilitative services, a physician will prescribe the type of therapy he or she needs. Additionally, a physician can offer suggestions for facilities covered by insurance and Medicare.

When it comes to long-term care, you know your loved one better than anyone else. Have a discussion with them and with their physician to determine the type of care your loved one needs. Here are some points of discussion to cover as you make these decisions: 

  • Why are changes in living arrangements necessary? 
  • What types of assistance do you need?
  • How often do you require help? 
  • What type of living arrangement would they prefer? 
  • Are there any social/recreational activities they’d like to have available? 

There are so many questions to cover when making this life-changing decision as a family, and USA Healthcare is here to help. As providers of both short and long-term care, we know all of the different concerns you have. We look forward to getting to know you and your family and helping you get the answers you need. 

Contact USA Healthcare to discuss our long-term and short-term care facilities and options.