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What Qualifies a Patient for Skilled Nursing Care?

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A skilled nurse checking in on a senior man.

The healthcare landscape offers a range of services designed to cater to the unique needs of adults experiencing age-related challenges. One of these specialized care services includes skilled nursing care. 

Several health factors can qualify an individual to receive skilled nursing care. They include–but aren’t limited to–those who have recently been hospitalized, are recovering from surgery or illness, or require long-term medical supervision and assistance with daily activities. 

At Fairview Senior Living, we regularly help serve patients with skilled nursing care. 

What Is Skilled Nursing Care?

Skilled nursing care offers medical care and assistance with daily activities provided by Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Licensed Nursing Assistants under the guidance of physicians in a long-term care community. It includes medical care offered through physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and well-being through music therapy.  

Skilled nursing provides round-the-clock care to those who need support with activities of daily living (ADLs) and healthcare. Depending on an individual’s health status and overall well-being, one can remain in a skilled nursing community temporarily or long-term.

Upon entering the skilled nursing community, residents undergo an initial health assessment to evaluate their physical and mental health, medications, and ability to manage ADLs like bathing, grooming, and dressing. 

To receive skilled nursing care, which is often covered by health insurance plans, including Medicare (under specific qualifying conditions) one typically requires a physician’s recommendation.

Who Qualifies for Skilled Nursing Care?

Skilled nursing care is generally recommended for those recently hospitalized, recovering from surgery or illness, or requiring long-term medical supervision and assistance with day-to-day living activities. 

Qualifying for skilled nursing care typically involves a variety of criteria based on a residents unique medical needs. 

Skilled nursing care can assist with:

  • Complex medical conditions that require close monitoring and management.
  • Required rehabilitation services after a hospital stay, such as post-stroke or joint replacement recovery.
  • Specialized wound care, intravenous (IV) therapy, or injections that cannot be self-administered.
  • Rapidly declining health due to progressive illnesses requiring palliative or hospice care.

For further clarification on whether your loved one qualifies for skilled nursing care, our short survey can help determine what level of care will be most appropriate for an individual’s needs and overall well-being. 

Services Offered in Skilled Nursing Care

Skilled nursing communities are equipped to offer comprehensive services designed to meet intricate healthcare needs. Understanding these services can help caregivers make informed decisions about caring for their loved ones. 

A physiotherapist assisting a senior patient with his stretches.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a critical component of skilled nursing care, particularly for those who have had fall injuries, surgeries like hip replacements, or are dealing with chronic conditions like arthritis. Licensed physical therapists develop and oversee designated physical therapy treatment regimens to enhance one’s function and strength.

Physical therapy aims to improve mobility, balance, and strength through exercises, enhancing the capacity to perform everyday activities safely and independently. 

Benefits of physical therapy could include: 

  • Pain management
  • Fall prevention
  • Rehabilitation after injury or surgery
  • Control symptoms associated with health conditions like tremors, carpal tunnel, and pelvic floor dysfunction
  • Improved mental health

Speech Therapy

Speech therapy in a skilled nursing setting helps to improve communication abilities that may have been impaired by conditions such as stroke or dementia

Speech therapists can work with individuals to help regain swallowing function, which is vital for preventing malnutrition and dehydration and facilitating safer eating and drinking.

Additional benefits of speech therapy could include:

  • Improved speech clarity  
  • Enhanced language skills 
  • Improved cognitive function 
  • Reduced risk of social isolation 

Occupational Therapy 

Occupational therapy focuses on helping to perform daily tasks with greater ease and independence. Assistance could mean adapting living spaces to personal needs, learning to use assistive devices, or employing strategies to manage daily activities such as dressing, cooking, and personal hygiene more efficiently, especially after injury or illness.

Benefits of occupational therapy could include: 

  • Fall prevention 
  • Improve vision loss 
  • Improve memory loss 
  • Improve basic motor skills such as strength, dexterity, range of motion, and mobility 

Music Therapy

Music therapy is a creative treatment that can benefit those in skilled nursing communities. Through active engagement in music, whether listening to music, singing, playing an instrument, or even moving to the beat, residents can experience improvements in their mood, cognition, and even physical health. 

Music therapy provides an alternative pathway for communication and self-expression, which is particularly beneficial for people with cognitive impairments. 

The goals of our music therapy program include: 

  • Social Skills: Includes active listening, expressive language, and increased involvement in social experiences. 
  • Emotional skills: Music therapy can help to decrease anxiety, depression, and stress, can help process and address grief, and increase individual self-esteem.    
  • Motor skills: Engaging with an instrument can help to strengthen and utilize fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and coordination.  
  • Cognitive skills: Music can help to engage and stimulate short and long-term memory and sustained attention.  

Schedule a Visit

Understanding your loved one’s qualifications for skilled nursing care and the therapies provided can offer peace of mind that they’re in capable hands.Contact our team at Fairview Senior Living to schedule a tour of our community to see how our residents benefit from skilled nursing.

Written by Fairview Senior Living

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