Skilled nursing care can be employed in any number of situations, from senior living facilities to older adults who require a more intensive level of care after a health issue or medical crisis. What qualifies a patient for skilled nursing care and why it is necessary? In fact, health issues sometimes reveal vulnerabilities in older adults’ living circumstances that indicate the level of care they’re receiving needs to be increased.

Skilled nursing can make a significant difference in health-related outcomes and restore mobility in patients who may have lost it after an illness or injury. It contributes to enhanced patient well-being due to the added oversight.

The cornerstone of this medical approach is the administration of care techniques and therapies provided by licensed health professionals under the guidance of licensed nurses. It allows patients to benefit from best practices and participate in custom treatment plans that match the pace of their healing process.

A skilled Nurse assisting an resident at our worry-free retirement living center in Media, PA

What Is Skilled Nursing Care?

Skilled nursing care is a specific form of care performed by licensed nurses in a medical setting under the supervision of a qualified physician. Such settings may include hospitals, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities. This higher level of care requires advanced training and may consist of services from registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs). Skilled nursing staff consisting of physical and occupational therapists are also typically included in the offerings of a skilled nursing program, as are certified nursing assistants.

Skilled nursing is typically used for short-term rehabilitation to allow patients to improve their functioning and regain independence. It can also help patients learn how to better take care of themselves in the face of their ongoing health challenges or prevent decline with some chronic conditions. The best skilled nursing programs take a well-rounded and integrative approach to care. This care category is highly regulated, with most programs governed by the U.S. Department of Health and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

What Qualifies a Patient for Skilled Nursing Care?

Overall, a patient who requires daily care for any health condition is qualified for skilled nursing care. Individuals who require ongoing medical care after an injury, rehabilitation or other highly effective medical treatment qualify for skilled nursing care. Those recovering from a stroke, a surgery, an accident or significant illness are typical skilled nursing facility patients. Patients in need of intensive wound care or those requiring physical and occupational therapy also qualify for skilled nursing facilities. Medicare pays for skilled nursing for those prescribed specialized treatment, medication, or equipment by a qualified physician when services are being provided in a Medicare-certified skilled nursing facility.

Many assisted living facilities and nursing homes have a skilled nursing component for older adults who may not initially need this level of medical care but find they may benefit from it after an accident or illness. This is one of the reasons it’s imperative to ensure that assisted living facilities or licensed health care residences chosen for an older loved one have a skilled nursing facility on-site. Skilled nursing care provided in the nursing facility or community in question avoids the need to move to such a facility should an accident, injury, or medical emergency occur.

A Skilled Nursing Care Provider working with a resident in rehab from an injury

What Services Are Offered at a Skilled Nursing Facility?

Skilled nursing services are often comprehensive in scope and provide necessary oversight for patients as they navigate healing and wellness. Medical care services offered in a skilled nursing program include post-operative care, wound care, intravenous injections, medication monitoring, catheter care and medical equipment. Skilled nursing care also encompasses monitoring patients’ vital signs and oversight of chronic medical conditions.

These services offered in a skilled nursing facility are transitional, which means the goal is to get the patient well enough to return to their routine, whether in a nursing facility or back with their families. For some, this means a shift from the independent living they were accustomed to before their illness to an assisted living facility or nursing home where some components of skilled nursing services may still be available.

What Are the Different Types of Skilled Nursing Services?

Skilled services must meet strict criteria for this care category. In addition to medical services and monitoring, skilled nursing facilities have three main functions.

Speech Therapy

Some medical issues may impact the ability to communicate, making the speech therapy aspect of skilled nursing vital. This therapeutic approach incorporates exercises in various communication functions. It also focuses on the ability to swallow and emphasizes specific dietary guidelines to help patients regain their strength.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy may run the gamut from learning to walk again to regaining strength in muscles that have atrophied after a long stint in bed. Treatment plans for this kind of therapy are individualized to ensure every patient gains strength and mobility in the areas most impacted by their medical issue.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy may be necessary after an injury or stroke has created a lapse in knowledge regarding the essential functions of daily life. This form of skilled nursing care may help patients regain the skills to dress and feed themselves. It also helps restore function in terms of memory and coordination.

member of our full-service therapy department in Media, PA working with a resident

Learn More About Skilled Nursing Care

Ultimately, skilled nursing care helps patients who need more one-on-one attention to recover and regain mobility and function. Riddle Village offers an exceptional skilled nursing care program, ensuring all patients receive a high level of specialized care and therapy to better navigate the complexities of their ongoing health issues.

Our approach is comprehensive, and our skilled nursing staff is top tier, composed of dedicated, talented individuals who understand the importance of sound patient care concepts. We engage in rigorous training and adhere to industry-wide best practices in our approach to skilled nursing. Call (610) 557-3977 or schedule a tour to learn more about what we offer and determine if our program might be a good fit for your needs.