Learn & Grow/Skilled Nursing/Skilled Nursing vs. Nursing Home: What Are the Differences?
Skilled Nursing

Skilled Nursing vs. Nursing Home: What Are the Differences?

On the subject of senior care services, one of the most familiar phrases is “nursing home”. In the past, nursing homes were one of the few residential care options available for seniors who needed some degree of medical care.

Nowadays, senior living options are many, from independent living to assisted living, to skilled nursing facilities. Seniors who would benefit from some assistance have many choices. But what many seniors consider to be a “nursing home” may be a range of different types of residential care options.

So, what’s the difference between skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes? This article will give a detailed definition of each, and help you understand the difference in the level of care provided by skilled nursing vs. a nursing home.

Nurse helping senior woman with a walker

What Is a Nursing Home?

A nursing home is a senior living community that offers a certain degree of medical care to its residents on a long-term basis. Nursing home care often provides assistance with the activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming, meal preparation and supervised activities. A resident there can also receive assistance with medication management and other basic medical needs.

Nursing home care is provided by nurse aids and licensed practical nurses under the supervision of registered nurses. There are not typically doctors on-site for this level of residential care. The purpose is to provide a safe, comfortable and caring environment for seniors who are not able to live an entirely independent lifestyle.

Along with the activities of daily living listed above, some of the care services provided by nursing homes include:

  • General medical care, such as oxygen tank management, eye drops and vitamins
  • 24-hour emergency medical care
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Transportation services
  • Housekeeping

Group of seniors and a nurse playing games together

What Is a Skilled Nursing Facility?

Unlike a nursing home, which is considered a senior living option, skilled nursing is a type of care. Usually a person requires skilled nursing care after a hospital stay to continue their recovery from an injury, illness, or surgery. The patient is well enough to leave the hospital, but not well enough to continue recovery independently at home.

Skilled nursing care is provided by registered nurses, licensed nurses and nursing assistants under the supervision of a doctor. It’s considered transitional care, or short-term care, with the goal of gaining health, strength and mobility through a carefully planned course of care services.

Skilled nursing, vs. a nursing home, includes rehabilitative services, such as occupational, physical and speech therapy. Skilled nursing care providers are also trained to use specialized medical equipment that is not available in traditional nursing homes.

Along with the increased level of care provided by a skilled nursing facility, the caregivers, like the specially trained team members at Beacon Hill, make it a priority to have the experience be far more enjoyable than a hospital stay could be. Beacon Hill has a dedicated social services coordinator who organizes enjoyable social activities. An active and satisfying social life during recovery makes residents happier and has been proven to improve health outcomes.

Skilled nursing care at Beacon Hill also includes: 

  • Planning and managing resident care with family input
  • Giving injections
  • Inserting and maintaining catheters and feeding tubes
  • Using aspiration devices
  • Wound care
  • Pain management

Nurse and senior woman holding each other

Another distinction between skilled nursing vs. nursing home care is government oversight and regulation. Both nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities are regulated by the Department of Health in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but skilled nursing facilities are subjected to more comprehensive evaluations because of the increased level of care and expertise provided there. This added level of scrutiny ensures that you or your loved one will receive quality specialized care from skilled nursing vs. a nursing home.

How To Transition to Skilled Nursing Care

If you or your loved one is about to be discharged from the hospital, but will still need medical or rehabilitative care, it’s important to be admitted into a skilled nursing facility before being discharged from the hospital. The recommendation by a doctor, approval process and availability of an opening can take some time and planning. This would be an ideal time to contact one of the caring and professional team members at Beacon Hill, who are available to answer any questions and give you all the information and reassurance you need.

Skilled Nursing Care at Beacon Hill

In Lombard, IL, the specially trained medical professionals at Beacon Hill are dedicated to the rehabilitation, continuing care, and overall wellness of its residents 24 hours a day. With an individualized care plan put in place that never forgets the whole person, you or your loved one will be in attentive, compassionate, expert hands.

To find out more about the skilled nursing care at Beacon Hill, fill out the contact form at the bottom of the page.