Lisa Conway – Hometown News

Q: Rehab, skilled nursing, nursing home –what’s the difference?

A: Terms like these can be confusing, especially when their services overlap. When a person is discharged from a hospital (especially if their stay has been lengthy), “Rehab” or a skilled nursing facility may be recommended, until the patient can gain enough strength to safely return home.  The care provided in a skilled nursing facility is generally more comprehensive and intense than that of a long-term care facility, aka “nursing home.” Long-term care is generally supportive, whereas skilled nursing care is used to rehabilitate a person for the purpose of returning home. But…BOTH of these distinctly different types of care services can be provided in the same building. Let’s break it down a little further.

Skilled nursing facility (SNF) or In-patient Rehab:  Skilled nursing facilities provide physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and nursing on an inpatient basis. Payment for the skilled services is provided under the Medicare SNF benefit, with co-pays paid out-of-pocket or by a gap policy. Patients who receive skilled nursing care typically have short-term care goals. A team of healthcare professionals from various specialty areas will meet weekly to review the patient’s care and progress. Medicare will continue to pay for care up to 100 days, as long as patients continue to meet their goals.

Long-Term Care Facility:  A person who needs more care than can be provided at home may be admitted to a “nursing home,” known today as a long-term care facility. They provide people with assistance for daily living, and this is usually where residents stay until the end of their lives. Professional staff at a long-term care facility includes nurses, nursing aides, social workers, dieticians and more — to ensure the residents’ physical and social needs are met.

If you need help determining the type of care appropriate for your loved one, call One Senior Place at 321-751-6771.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at OneSeniorPlace.comLisa Conway is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera.