By: Darleen Mahoney
The level of health care and personal care provided varies greatly between a skilled nursing facility and an assisted living facility. An assisted living facility (ALF) is a long term living environment where the resident’s care is customized based on health and personal needs. A skilled nursing facility (SNF) is a temporary facility based on hospitalization or a significant decline in health.
Skilled nursing facilities include room and board, any necessary physical and/or occupational therapy, social services, medication, speech, audiology, and all care is provided by registered professional nurses. The level of care that they provide may include rehabilitation, tube feedings, intravenous, and rapidly declining health services.
Skilled nursing facilities are also required to meet federal criteria for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement for nursing care. Skilled care is covered by Medicare for typically up to 100 days after a hospitalization. Once you use 100 days, your current benefit period must end before you renew your SNF benefits. Custodial care may be needed for an extended period. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services provides detail on what is covered under each of their plans.
Before choosing a Skilled Nursing Facility, consider the following:
- Make sure you have a recent medical evaluation with a recommendation for a Skilled Nursing Facility vs. another housing option
- If 24/7 medical care is required, a skilled nursing facility is best. If custodial needs are required, consider an Assisted Living Facility.
- Because a Skilled Nursing Facility is temporary, consider the medical needs of the patient and make sure that there may not be an alternate plan. If a family can fill in the gaps in care with adult day care programs, home health care, or respite care there may be alternatives to consider.
If you feel that you or a family member needs a Skilled Nursing/Rehabilitation facility, please visit www.SeniorLivingGuide.com, click on “Skilled Nursing/Rehabilitation”, and your state or area of interest. You will be able to choose from multiple options and review in detail what each one offers and if it meets your needs. Do your research and make the best possible decision for you and your family.