What is a Skilled Nursing Facility?
What Are Nursing Homes
A skilled nursing facility, commonly known as a nursing home, employs registered nurses who help give 24/7 care to people who can't take care of themselves anymore due to physical disabilities, emotional problems, or mental diseases. A doctor looks after each patient's care and some sort of medical professional is almost always available to the patient while in the facility. Usually, nursing homes provide two levels of care. These include skilled medical care and custodial care. Skilled medical care is basically where someone needs constant medical care for a short period of time due to an injury or illness.
Some examples of skilled medical care are:
1. A nurse taking care of a person's wounds after surgery(cleaning bandages, washing wound, etc) or giving/managing intravenous antibiotics for a very serious infection.
2. A physical therapist who trains a person to fix strength or coordination problems that have made common daily tasks like walking, using the bathroom, or getting up and down virtually impossible.
3. A speech pathologist helping a stroke victim learn to communicate again.
4. An occupational therapist who helps reteach how to take care of one's self in areas like dressing, bathing, and eating food.
Long term skilled care can be necessary if a person requires injections, ventilation equipment for breathing, or other treatments that must be administered.
Custodial Care is care given for people who need help doing the simple but necessary tasks of living like taking a shower, getting dressed, eating a meal, shaving, getting into and out of bed, and going to the bathroom.
People who can recover from a major injury can need temporary help in these areas until they regain their lost strength. However, long term custodial care can be required for people who are getting up in years or have chronic illnesses which make independence very difficult. In the most sever cases, a bed-bound patient can require both custodial care and the long term care of a Registered Nurse. This is so the nurse can make sure the patient is drinking enough water and to make sure their skin stays healthy. Other times, a custodial care patient can temporarily need skilled care due to an injury but then return to custodial care only after the injury has healed.
Overall, determining which type of care is needed is critical both in regard to who provides the care (a Registered Nurse or simply a medical employee or assistant) and the cost (skilled care is obviously more expensive due to nurses and more services provided).