If your goal is to get patients who need rehabilitative care back up and into their useful, active lives, then skilled nursing is for you. A skilled nursing facility typically offers physical, speech, and occupational therapy, post-stroke recovery, pulmonary rehabilitation, wound management, intravenous and nutritional therapy, cardiac care, catheter care, and monitoring vital signs and medical equipment.
What Is Skilled Nursing?
Skilled nursing bridges the gap between hospital and home for post-acute patients who need rehabilitative medical care, with the same level of nursing care as in a hospital. Many patients also need help in activities for daily living (ADLs), such as getting in or out of bed or a chair, bathing, or dressing.
Nursing Home vs. Long-Term Care vs. Skilled Nursing Facility
A nursing home is a longer-term residential option for people who need full-time assistance in ADLs and medication but not as much medical attention. The purpose of a nursing home is to provide, as the name says, a safe, comfortable, friendly, and caring home for those who cannot take care of themselves independently. The residents are primarily seniors.
Nursing homes meet the medical needs of their residents with registered nurses (RNs) on site 24 hours a day and regular visits with a senior doctor. Some nursing homes offer the services of a physical therapist.
Skilled nursing facilities also provide ADL care for those who need it but offer much more medical care. The patients, sometimes younger, have the expectation and potential to overcome their current maintenance needs. Although it is residential, the stay is expected to be temporary in contrast to nursing homes or long-term care facilities.
How Much Does a Skilled Nursing Facility Cost?
Due to the specialized medical attention, a stay in a skilled nursing facility will likely cost almost 20% more than in a nursing home.
According to a 2021 Cost of Care Survey done by Genworth, a semi-private room in a nursing home has a median cost of $260 per day, or $7,908 per month, whereas a shared room in a skilled nursing facility runs around $310 per day or a little over $9,300 a month. These median costs vary significantly by state or even in different cities within the same condition. The monthly cost of a semi-private room ranges from $5,100 in Texas to $9,120 in Michigan and up to $38,010 in Alaska.
An RN in a skilled or long-term nursing facility is paid between $52,541 and $82,155 per year.
Who Works in Skilled Nursing?
Nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and long-term care all have round-the-clock RN staff, licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) dedicated to the well-being of the patients.
In addition, skilled nursing facilities employ other medical professionals, for example, nurse practitioners (NPs), physical and occupational therapists, speech pathologists, respiratory therapists, audiologists, and dietitians, to give specialized rehabilitation care.
What Is Skilled Nursing Specialty Care Provided?
Some of the many medical services available to patients in skilled nursing are:
- Wound management and healing for patients who have been in accidents, undergone amputations or suffered wounds from diabetes or vascular diseases, as well as prevention and/or treatment of skin ulcers.
- Nutrition therapy with diets that address the personal nutritional needs of each patient.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation involves support for individuals with lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, pulmonary hypertension, or cystic fibrosis to reduce and manage their symptoms, regain strength and improve their lung function.
- Post-stroke recovery by specialized therapies to restore mobility, improve speech and swallowing, and relearn skills needed for daily tasks.
- Speech therapy works on cognition, communication, and swallowing for patients recovering from stroke and other health problems affecting thought, memory, and speech.
- Physical therapy programs use exercises that help alleviate or reduce pain, build up the balance, and strengthen or improve joint and muscle functioning.
- Occupational therapy focuses on cognitive, physical, social, and motor skills to learn or improve everyday activities or skills, allowing greater independence and participation in home, work, or social settings.
What Types of Patients Go to a Skilled Nursing Facility?
Some significant medical problems that often need rehabilitation at a skilled nursing facility include:
- Joint replacement surgery, such as the knee, hip, or shoulder arthroplasty or implants
- Surgery or extensive treatment for diabetes, kidney problems, heart conditions, or lung problems
- Stroke or other brain damage.
The stay at the facility will last from a couple of weeks up to an indefinite period, seeking rehabilitation and independence to go home, live with their families and even help with chores, and in many cases, go back to work.
How Do You Find a Skilled Nursing Job?
Skilled nursing facilities are in dire need of competent, hopeful, strong, and caring nurses. You can find RN, LPN, and CNA jobs in skilled nursing, using the Nursa app. Nursa connects you with skilled nursing PRN jobs and other per diem healthcare shifts. PRN means Pro Re Nata or “as needed” in Latin and refers to per diem jobs that allow you to work when, where, and how often you want. Doesn’t that sound pretty good?