Skilled Nursing Facilities: Who Needs Them?

Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) are establishments that have historically been referred to as “nursing homes.” They have provided healthcare and housing for the critically and chronically ill by offering 24-hour oversight and services beyond assistance with activities of daily living. Through the years, the term “nursing home” has developed a negative connotation despite being a necessary provider in the continuum of care for the elderly. The evolution of congregate care has deep roots in nursing homes, the original reimagining of the long-ago asylums and sanitoriums, on its way to the less restrictive care we learned about previously in Assisted Living Facilities.

Skilled Nursing Facility Staff Can Include Doctors and Nurses

What is a Nursing Home?

The Agency for Health Care Administration in the State of Florida defines nursing homes as those establishments that “provide 24-hour a day nursing care, case management, health monitoring, personal care, nutritional meals and special diets, physical, occupational, and speech therapy, social activities and respite care for those who are ill and physically infirm.” These care needs are above and beyond those that can be managed in an assisted living facility. Each of these care needs requires the watchful presence of licensed and certified staff on a 24-hour basis.


Ask any aging individual and they will adamantly tell you that they absolutely do not want to go to a nursing home. And not everybody will go to a nursing home. Employing the services of an elder care attorney in Florida is key to formulating a plan that provides for your care and wishes as you age. A family and estate lawyer is knowledgeable in helping with a financial roadmap. This may keep you from residing in a skilled nursing facility but being proactive is essential.


Why Would I Need to go to a Skilled Nursing Facility?

There are a couple of reasons why you would need to go to a nursing home. Specifically, you have had a health event that requires extra medical attention and oversight. There are many kinds of events that may require additional care in a nursing home, including:


  • A cardiac event that resulted in a lengthy hospital stay and your physician wants you to go to a less restrictive facility (nursing home, skilled nursing facility, rehabilitation center) for further treatment and evaluation before returning home.
  • A fall resulting in an injury requiring a hospital stay. Your physician may want you to participate in additional therapy programs (physical, occupational, speech) before returning home.
  • Medication management issues that require closer monitoring and stabilization over a short period of time

These short-term stays are typically paid for by Medicare and/or secondary insurance. They are not intended to be a long-term solution. A patient must demonstrate improvement and positive progress in their therapeutic care plan. In these situations, it is imperative that you stay positive, participate in your plan of care, and plan ahead to be part of the decision-making process when the time comes.

Doctor Writing on Clipboard at Nursing Facility

Helpful Resources about Skilled Nursing Facilities

What is the best nursing home in my area? Which facility specializes in the kind of treatment I need? Which skilled nursing facility has good ratings, outcomes, and state surveys? The answers to these questions may bring peace of mind to you and your family should you find yourself in need of a short-term nursing home stay. Knowledge is power! Do your research and be ready!


(This piece was originally written when I was a guest blogger for Amy B. Van Fossen, PA.)

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