Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions About Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Care

image of nurses in wall nj skilled nursing

When is skilled nursing care the right choice? What is the difference between skilled nursing and assisted living? Our experts answer your questions.

image of nurses in wall nj skilled nursingThere is a lot to think about when your loved one needs care. A change in health – whether due to an illness, injury, or an elective procedure – means that care needs are going to change, too.

Fortunately, there are more options than ever for seniors. That also means that there is a lot to learn. Read on for answers to some frequently asked questions about skilled nursing and rehabilitation, plus our tips on how to find the right skilled nursing and rehabilitation community, and the most important questions to ask.

Frequently Asked Questions about Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation

1. What’s the difference between skilled nursing care and assisted living?

Skilled nursing provides more intensive medical care and supervision than assisted living. This might include daily, hands-on rehabilitative therapies, IV medications, and wound care. Assisted living offers day-to-day support with activities like dressing, bathing, and meals.

2. How do I know whether my loved one needs skilled nursing or assisted living?

Generally, skilled nursing is the right choice when a senior requires hands-on medical care, whether that is for the short-term during recovery from major health event, or for the long term due to a condition that requires intensive treatment.

While an in-person assessment is necessary to determine the best option for each individual, these are some of the most common circumstances for which skilled nursing is the right choice:

  • A senior leaves the hospital with doctor’s orders for rehabilitation in a Medicare certified facility. This is common after procedures like hip replacements (and other orthopedic surgeries), and after major health events such as strokes. Rehabilitation might include daily physical, speech, or occupational therapy.
  • A senior leaves the hospital with doctor’s orders for continuing treatment that is best administered in a medical environment, such as IV medications or serious wound care.
  • A senior requires long-term care for a condition that requires intensive medical supervision.

3. Is there a difference between stand-alone skilled nursing facilities and skilled nursing care as part of a continuum?

Yes! Because the goal of a skilled nursing stay is often short-term, skilled nursing care as part of a continuum can provide more options and an easier transition after the initial course of rehabilitative therapies. Many seniors benefit from the supportive services of assisted living after completing their initial course of rehabilitation. In a continuum, consistent staffing and care management make the transition easy.

Likewise, while assisted living services can adapt to a wide variety of medical conditions over the long term, there can be times when the care needs of a senior in assisted living change, and their safety and wellbeing are best served by more intensive medical supervision in skilled nursing care. A continuum means that the right help is always right there.

Families find peace of mind knowing that the right support and resources are always available. On our senior living campus, extra help is literally just around the corner. You and your loved one can continue to enjoy the benefits of the community, even as life changes.

4. How do I find the right skilled nursing community for my loved one?

Whether you are planning ahead for recovery after a procedure or there has been a sudden change, these are some steps you can take to find the right community for your loved one.

  • Talk to people you trust about the community’s reputation. Check with friends, colleagues, and medical professionals.
  • If your loved one is about to leave the hospital, consult with their discharge planner. Discharge planners will make recommendations and can help narrow down the list of communities based on what is most important to you.
  • Check online to make sure that the community has a five-star Medicare rating. Those ratings can be found here.
  • Visit the community, and make sure that you are comfortable with the look, feel, and approach. (See our tips below for visiting, plus the right questions to ask.)

5. What should I look for in a skilled nursing care community?

There is a lot to think about, especially when emotions may be running high or time is of the essence. Here are the most important things to look for when visiting a skilled nursing and rehabilitation community.

  • A warm reception. Starting with the first phone call and throughout the visit, note how you are received. Are the staff friendly and welcoming?
  • Attentive staff. Do residents look well cared for? Are the staff attentive? What are the interactions with residents like? Do they address residents by name?
  • Sensory signals. Take note of what your senses are telling you. Does the area look clean? Is it bright and cheerful, and free from odors? Is the furniture clean and comfortable?
  • Openness. When visiting, all rates and contracts should be available for you to review.

6. What questions should I ask about skilled nursing and rehabilitation communities?

Here are some helpful questions to ask when visiting a skilled nursing and rehabilitation community:

  • How long has the current management team been in place?
  • What is the activities program like? How do you encourage residents to participate?
  • How is the food? Are there menus available?
  • What is the visitation policy?
  • What are the infection control procedures?
  • If planning a rehabilitation stay: what options are available after the initial course of therapy?

Choosing a skilled nursing care and rehabilitation community is one of the most important decisions a family caregiver will make. As one of the area’s only family-owned independent senior living communities, Sunnyside Manor is committed to offering high quality, forward-thinking skilled nursing care that families can depend on through life’s changes. When it’s time to make decisions about senior care, our family is here for yours.

Learn More About Why Families Rely On Sunnyside Manor

When it is time to make decisions about senior living, we are here to help. Sunnyside Manor offers assisted living, memory support, and skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Learn more about Sunnyside Manor’s resources for caregivers. Whether you’re looking for short-term support or a longer-term plan, begin with our “Getting Started” guide. Please call us at 888-696-2052 to speak with a senior living expert.

Sunnyside Manor, located in Wall NJ, is the area’s premier senior living community. It features three distinctive neighborhoods: Independence ‘Plus’ Assisted Living, Recollections Memory Care and Long Term Care & Sub-acute Rehabilitation.

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