What is the difference between skilled nursing and a nursing home? Will Medicaid pay for either?
While the terms, skilled nursing and nursing home, are often used interchangeably, they are in fact, different. That said, part of the confusion stems from the fact that skilled nursing facilities are frequently housed inside of nursing homes. While we will explain the differences between skilled nursing and nursing homes below, it is important to note that Medicaid will cover the cost of both types of care for those who meet Medicaid’s eligibility requirements. However, for Medicaid to cover the cost, the facility must be licensed and certified as a Medicaid Nursing Facility in the state in which it is located.
Nursing Home Care
In addition to room and board, nursing homes provide 24-hour supervision, medication management, and assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing / undressing, using the bathroom, mobility, transitioning, and eating. While resident assistance is generally provided by nursing assistants, nursing homes have on-staff nurses, and in some cases, an on-staff physician. Nursing home residents generally reside there for the long-term.
Skilled Nursing Home Care
Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), which also provide room and board, provide a high level of medical care and are often recommended for short-term rehabilitation care following an illness, surgery, or injury. SNFs are also appropriate for persons who require frequent or 24/7 care due to a chronic disease. Available medical care is provided by health care professionals, such as registered nurses, doctors, and therapists, and includes wound care, IV therapy, medication administration, vital sign monitoring, and therapies (physical, speech, and occupational). As with nursing homes, SNFs also provide assistance with daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing / undressing, toiletry, mobility, and eating. As mentioned above, SNFs are often part of an existing nursing home, but they could also be a part of a hospital or a standalone facility.