Skilled Care in Long-Term Care: What You Need to Know

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

What is Skilled Care?

Non-hospital-based skilled nursing facilities provide skilled care. It is continuous medical care that is not provided in a hospital. That is, it necessitates the availability of round-the-clock nursing by RNs, LVNs, or LPNs, as well as at least one supervising RN on duty at all times.

Nursing care, therapy, and rehabilitation are all types of skilled care. This is a high degree of nursing and medical attention for those whose health conditions need constant monitoring. SNFs also provide custodial care for the patients who reside there.

What Is A Skilled Nursing Facility?

A skilled nursing facility (SNF), also known as a convalescent home, is a type of long-term care facility that provides patients with 24-hour medical and nursing care. It is typically used for patients who need rehabilitation or skilled nursing services after a hospital stay or for those who need ongoing medical care and support.

SNFs offer various services, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy, wound care, IV therapy, and primary care, such as bathing and dressing assistance. The goal of an SNF is to help patients recover, improve their health, and provide them with the support they need to manage their medical conditions and maintain their independence.

Long Term Care Skilled Nursing Facility

Who Typically Needs To Go To A Skilled Nursing Facility?

People who typically need to go to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) include those who:

  • Require rehabilitation after a hospital stay, such as for an illness, injury, or surgery.
  • Need ongoing medical care and support for chronic conditions like heart failure, respiratory problems, or dementia.
  • Have difficulties performing daily activities, such as bathing and dressing, due to a physical or cognitive limitation.
  • Need assistance managing medications, monitoring vital signs, or receiving IV therapy.
  • Require wound care or physical, occupational, or speech therapy.

What Are The Benefits Of A Skilled Nursing Facility?

The benefits of a skilled nursing facility (SNF) include the following:

  • 24-hour medical and nursing care: Around-the-clock skilled nursing care supported patients, ensuring they received the medical attention they needed when needed.
  • Rehabilitation services: Many SNFs offer physical, occupational, and speech therapy, helping patients recover and improve their health after an illness, injury, or surgery.
  • Assistance with daily activities: SNFs can assist with bathing, dressing, and other daily activities, helping patients maintain their independence and quality of life.
  • Medication management: SNFs can help patients manage their medications and monitor their vital signs, reducing the risk of medication errors and complications.
  • Support for families: SNFs can support families and caregivers, including respite care, education, and resources on how to care for their loved ones at home.
  • High-quality care: SNFs typically have a higher ratio of licensed medical professionals, such as licensed practical nurses and therapists, to residents, ensuring that patients receive high-quality care and support.
What Is Skilled Care

What Services Do Skilled Nursing Facilities Include?

Many elderly or disabled individuals require expert nursing care and substantial, long-term aid. Skilled nursing facilities may offer rehabilitation, medical treatments, personal attention, meals, and leisure. SNF Service examples include:

  • clinical oversight
  • venipuncture or blood draws
  • intravenous (IV) injections
  • wound care and monitoring of skin conditions
  • diabetic management
  • catheter care
  • physical, occupational, and speech therapy
  • observation and assessment of patients’ changing conditions
  • a change in treatment and care based on changes in condition
  • tube feedings
  • ongoing assessment of rehabilitation needs and potential
  • therapeutic exercises or activities
  • ambulation (walking) programs

The need for custodial care does not, in and of itself, entitle someone to skilled nursing facility care. However, suppose the patient’s custodial and personal care needs are met through coverage based on the need for skilled nursing or rehabilitation. In that case, their custodial and personal care requirements will be addressed.

Types Of Long-Term Care At A Glance

Custodial CareIntermediate CareSkilled Care
PurposeAssistance with ADLs to
maintain current status and
to meet current needs
Rehabilitative or restorative
Medically necessary nursing care, therapy, or rehabilitation
FrequencyPeriodically or dailyIntermittently or periodicallyDaily
Provided ByFamily, friends, health aidesPhysicians, nurses, licensed therapistsPhysicians, nurses, licensed therapists
Provided InHome, community care centers, skilled nursing
facilities home, intermediate care facilities, skilled nursing
Skilled nursing facilities
DurationUsually long-termUsually short- to mid-termUsually short-term

What Are The Costs Of A Skilled Nursing Facility?

The cost of a skilled nursing facility (SNF) varies depending on several factors, including:

  • Location: SNF costs vary widely depending on where the facility is located, with prices generally higher in urban areas.
  • Level of care: The cost of an SNF may vary based on the level of care and services required by the patient, with more advanced or specialized care typically costing more.
  • Length of stay: The cost of an SNF may be influenced by the length of time a patient is expected to stay at the facility, with longer stays generally costing more.
  • Insurance coverage: Many SNFs accept Medicare and Medicaid, which can help offset the cost of care. However, Medicare only covers SNF care for a limited time, and Medicaid coverage can vary by state. Private insurance may also cover some of the costs of SNF care.
  • Additional services: Some SNFs may offer additional services, such as private rooms or specialized therapy programs, which can increase the overall cost of care.
Long Term Skilled Nursing Facility

How To Pay For Skilled Care At A Fraction Of The Cost

A long-term care annuity is a hybrid annuity set up to assist in paying for skilled care without causing retirement funds to be depleted. To create a tax-free Long-Term Care Insurance benefit, an LTC annuity doubles (200%) or triples (300%) the investment (based on medical records). If there is money in the annuity, it passes along a death benefit to beneficiaries.

If you don’t have a lump sum, a long-term care life insurance policy (LTCI) is another great option. In simple terms, these policies are designed specifically for long-term care and allow the insured to access the life insurance’s death benefit while alive to pay for LTC costs. In addition, applicants can pay a fixed premium monthly or annually instead of a one-time deposit.

Related Reading: Do LTC Policies Have a Cash Value?

How Do Skilled Nursing Facilities Provide Support To Families And Caregivers?

Skilled nursing facilities support families and caregivers by offering skilled services and resources. This may include:

  • Family meetings with care staff to discuss the patient’s care plan and progress.
  • Regular updates on the patient’s health and well-being.
  • Education and resources for families and caregivers on how to care for the patient at home.
  • Respite care services allow family caregivers to take a break from their custodial care duties.
  • Support groups and counseling services for families and caregivers to manage the stress and emotional impact of caring for a loved one.
  • We coordinate other care services, such as home health care or hospice.

What Are The Differences Between A Skilled Nursing Facility And A Nursing Home?

A skilled nursing facility (SNF) and a nursing home are similar types of long-term care facilities, but there are some critical differences between them:

  • Level of care: A skilled nursing facility provides more medical care than a nursing home and is typically used for patients who need rehabilitation or skilled nursing services after a hospital stay.
  • Services: Skilled nursing facilities offer a more comprehensive range of medical services, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy, wound care, and IV therapy. Nursing homes typically offer more primary care, such as bathing and dressing assistance, and may also offer some essential medical services.
  • Cost: Skilled nursing facilities are often more expensive than nursing homes, as they offer higher medical care and services.
  • Staffing: Skilled nursing facilities typically have a higher ratio of licensed medical professionals, such as nurses and therapists, and licensed health professionals to residents, compared to nursing homes.
  • Length of stay: Skilled nursing facilities are typically used for short-term stays, such as rehabilitation after a hospitalization, while nursing homes are more often used for longer-term care.

Next Steps

In conclusion, finding the right skilled nursing facility for your loved one can be challenging. It’s important to consider all the factors involved, such as the level of care, services offered, cost, staffing, and length of stay. By carefully researching and comparing different options, you can ensure that your loved one receives the high-quality care and support they need. Then, if you’re ready to start your search for a skilled nursing facility, we encourage you to contact us and request a quote. Our team of experts will be happy to help you find the right SNF for your needs and answer any questions.

Skilled Care

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What Is The Role Of Private Health Insurance In Covering The Costs Of A Skilled Nursing Facility?

Private health insurance may cover some or all costs of a skilled nursing facility stay, depending on the policy, but often has limits and may require a co-pay or deductible.

What Is The Benefit Period For A Skilled Nursing Facility?

The benefit period for a skilled nursing facility is the length of time covered by insurance for a stay in a nursing home for medical care. It varies by the insurance policy.

What Are Rehabilitative Services Available At A Skilled Nursing Facility?

Rehabilitative services available at a skilled nursing facility include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and restorative care.

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Shawn Plummer is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

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