What is a skilled nursing facility?

what is a skilled nursing facility
Older individuals often need to live in a skilled nursing facility rather than living on their own or in a loved one’s home. A skilled nursing facility has a staff of trained registered, licensed practical and assistant nurses available round-the-clock to take care of residents. Skilled nursing facilities have different names, including:

  • Intermediate care facility
  • Rest home
  • Convalescent home
  • Nursing home
  • Assisted living facility

Most skilled nursing facilities are designed for senior citizens, but many also accept younger residents with disabilities such as neurological disorders, paralyzed limbs or mental impairments. Anyone moving into a skilled nursing facility plans to live the rest of their lifetime there, but there are facilities that take care of individuals for short-term conditions such as recovery from surgery.

Skilled Nursing Facilities have Highly Trained Staff

Residents in a skilled nursing facility have access to highly trained medical personnel who are available for emergencies such as diabetic mellitus insulin reactions, breathing difficulties or mobility problems. Many senior citizens in a skilled nursing facility require assistance with daily living such as bathing and dental care. Each skilled nursing facility offers different amenities such as private or shared rooms with a bathroom nearby. Some facilities have apartments available in a variety of sizes and floor plans such as small studios with a kitchenette and bathroom. Larger apartments are frequently available for senior citizen couples who want to reside together but require extra assistance.

Residents of Skilled Nursing Facilities Require Assistance

With the increase in the population of senior citizens, more skilled nursing facilities are opening worldwide to care for infirm individuals. Elderly residents residing in one of these facilities may have a physical or cognitive impairment, and many senior citizens have multiple health issues that require individualized care plans. A senior citizen requiring round-the-clock skilled nursing assistance may have one or more of these conditions:

  • Parkinson’s disease – affects cognitive and physical functions
  • Alzheimer’s disease – a progressive form of dementia
  • Mobility issues – arthritis, paralyzed limbs, broken bones
  • High blood pressure – requiring a specialized diet
  • Heart disease – frequent heart attacks or valve damage
  • Kidney disease – requiring dialysis
  • Strokes – lack of mobility
  • Diabetes mellitus – requiring a specialized diet
  • Breathing difficulties – requiring breathing apparatus

Medical Staff Dispense Medications to Residents

At a skilled nursing facility, a senior citizen may have most of their independence but need occasional help with everyday tasks such as keeping an apartment clean or having nutritious meals prepared by a dietitian. The nurses and physicians can monitor residents’ health closely for problems that require immediate intervention such as a hospital visit or medication. Medications are frequently dispensed by nurses to patients to verify the proper dosage is taken at the correct time. Patients needing intravenous medications for an ailment are also assisted by the medical staff at the facility.

Nursing Assistants Help with Everyday Tasks

While many residents take care of their basic needs such as toileting or showering, infirm senior citizens are helped by certified nursing assistants. The nursing assistants are responsible for body care of residents such as changing adult diapers, checking vital signs and cleaning rooms. Residents who are bedridden may have limited physical movement, leading to needing physical therapy to keep muscles and joints flexible. Some senior citizens may need help getting into wheelchairs or using a walker to travel to other locations in the skilled nursing facility.

A Skilled Nursing Facility may Provide Hospice Care

A skilled nursing facility may also provide hospice or end of life care that can last for days, weeks or months due to a diagnosis of a terminal condition such as cancer. Residents in hospice need 24-hour access to nurses and physicians because they are often receiving an assortment of prescription oral or intravenous painkillers. Once entering hospice in a skilled nursing facility, many residents are able to remain in the same location where they feel comfortable rather than needing to go to a hospital.





About Senior Path:
We are a professional, senior housing advisory service which provides personal attention to Seniors and their families. We employ a staff of talented, caring Advisors who have vast experience helping Seniors and their families through this transition. Our Advisors have extensive backgrounds in the Senior Care industry enabling them to understand what Seniors want and need.