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Skilled Nursing Communities

What is a Skilled Nursing Community?

Skilled nursing communities provide around-the-clock skilled nursing care to individuals who require specialized medical care or daily therapy services. Licensed nurses are onsite 24/7 and a doctor is always on call . On average, someone in a skilled nursing community receives 3.7 hours of direct nursing care each day with 1.4 hours of that care being provided by a certified nurse (LVN, LPN or RN). Ambulances remain on standby to transport patients to a nearby hospital in the event of an emergency. In fact, most have transfer agreements with local hospitals and are situated near hospitals to make transfers fast and convenient.

Examples of care and services provided in skilled nursing communities include:

  • Wound care
  • Cardiac care
  • Pulmonary care
  • Stroke recovery care
  • Transplant care
  • Orthopedic care
  • Diabetes care
  • Injections
  • Intravenous therapy
  • Tube feedings
  • Pain management

There are more than 16,480 skilled nursing communities in the United States.

Benefits of Skilled Nursing Communities

Skilled nursing communities offer services for both temporary and long-term extended stays. Short-term care might include helping someone to recuperate from injuries or to gain strength after surgery or a prolonged hospital stay. Private accommodations may be available, but most rooms are typically semi-private. Some skilled nursing communities offer services to memory care residents in a separate and secured unit.

Modern skilled nursing communities offer a variety of services, recreational opportunities and social activities in a less structured and homelike atmosphere.

Skilled nursing services may be provided in a variety of locations including:

  • Assisted living communities
  • Adult day services centers
  • Nursing home communities
  • CCRCs (Continuing Care Retirement Communities)
  • Hospitals
  • Various other certified locations

In addition to nursing care and medication management, many skilled nursing communities provide rehabilitative services to help patients regain recently lost abilities, which helps them recover from disease, illness, injury or surgery. Rehabilitative services include physical therapy to increase mobility and strength, occupational therapy to improve the skills necessary to perform activities of daily living and speech/language therapy, which deals with the ability to talk and swallow. Many skilled nursing communities also provide dental and mental health services, either on- or off-site. Pain management, palliative care and dementia care are usually offered as well.

Average Costs of a Skilled Nursing Community

Although costs associated with skilled nursing care can seem high, it is the lowest cost setting for 24-hour professional skilled nursing and rehabilitative care. In the contiguous US states, the cost for monthly care ranges between $4,912 and $12,516. The average cost of monthly care is $7,441 for a semi-private room and $8,365 for a private room. These costs include housing, laundry and housekeeping services, meals, maintenance, utilities, necessary transportation and all amenities and activities provided by the community.  Medicare and Medicaid cover the cost of care when care is certified to be medically necessary by a doctor and all other requirements are met.

Skilled nursing communities may also be referred to as nursing homes, nursing centers, convalescent care centers, extended care centers or long-term care facilities.

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