Assisted Living vs. Skilled Nursing

Around 70% of adults over 65 are in need of some form of long-term care. They require monitoring and treatment, custodial or extensive care. That’s where a nursing home can prove useful.

Those who are worried about a loved one often find themselves wondering what’s the best type of care when admitting a senior to a nursing home? Whether they should opt for skilled nursing or assisted living.

As a dedicated nursing home with years of experience, we know how complicated it can be for families to make that decision. That’s why we decided to lift that burden and show you exactly how to distinguish these two long-term care options.

Skilled Nursing Care Option

In the U.S., there are roughly 1.4 million older adults living in nursing homes. About 33.8% are between 85 to 94 years, while only 15.5% are younger than 65.

Skilled nursing is a 24/7 community that ensures professional, daily, and specialized therapy in a skilled-care setting. A resident typically struggles with a complicated medical condition. That’s why routine skilled nursing can comprise of services such as:

  • Laboratory testing
  • Radiology services
  • Pharmacological treatment
  • Occupational, speech, or physical therapy
  • Feeding tube
  • IV medication
  • Respiratory or ventilator care
  • Wound treatment
  • Hospice care
  • Accepts insurance for time periods and Medicaid for long term care

Patients in need of skilled nursing often require a continuous hospital stay. The accommodations are semi-private. They look more like a hospital than a casual room. A physician will do extensive medical check-ups to make sure the elderly patient is in tip-top shape.

Those who remain active can do less strenuous physical activities scheduled throughout the day. While the patients who can’t join group activities obtain other activities, they can do in the comfort of their room.

Assisted Living Care Option

Almost 7% of residents in a nursing home have mild cognitive impairment. Whereas 1% have no or little cognitive impairment. They are in good shape. But still need help to live a healthy and safe life. That’s where assisted living comes into play.

Residents are encouraged to maintain their independence as much as possible. While still obtaining the necessary assistance. Like medicine management, dressing, grooming, bathing, etc. Their accommodations look like an apartment. They could be semi-private or completely private.

Caregivers are available 24/7 with access to centered care and third-party help. The patient, however, doesn’t need a physician for extensive medical check-ups. They can also do different activities, go on field trips, etc.

The whole purpose of assisted living is to provide residents with adequate treatment and care without compromising their independence, productivity, and functionality. Everything is tailored towards the patient’s needs so that they will enjoy their stay and outings.

It’s also worth noting that AL care is not covered by traditional insurance whereas skilled nursing is often covered for a period of time and Medicare for long term care. Primary payment methods for Assisted Living include: Private pay, Long Term Care Insurance, Veterans Insurance.

Ways to Pay for Skilled Nursing Care

Wrapping Things Up

As a nursing home that specialized in both skilled nursing and assisted living, we know how complex it can be to differentiate the two. Now that you know the primary differences, you will have an easier time picking the proper care. Simply put, residents who prefer a home-like setting can opt for assisted living. While those in need of rigorous monitoring will make the most of the skilled nursing community.

Manda Ayoub

Manda is a nurse and a licensed nursing home Administrator in the state of Michigan. She has worked through all aspects of the post-acute healthcare industry, holding various positions including Infection Control Nurse, In-service Director, Quality Assurance Director, Risk Manager and a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator.