Nursing Home/Skilled Nursing Facility

A Nursing Home provides medical care to help cure or control an illness and has a RN onsite 24 hours a day. Therapy often comes from physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists. Residents usually are people recently discharged from a hospital and completing their recovery or people who will permanently reside in the facility.

Today more hospital patients are sent to Nursing Homes to recuperate and receive various types of therapy because it is cheaper than having them recover in a hospital. Two groups of people permanently reside in a Nursing Home. One group is people with chronic (ongoing) conditions who need continuing medical treatment beyond that feasibly provided at home or in an Assisted Living Facility. The other group of permanent residents is people who need help, but have no money and are receiving care paid by Medicaid. Some of these people may be physically able to live at home or in an assisted living facility. However, their Medicaid program may not pay for that level of care or if it does pay for home care or assisted living the benefit may be too low to be of practical use.

How to pick a Nursing Home

  • Medicare provides Nursing Home ratings at Medicare.gov; however, there is a limitation with government ratings. You can visit a highly rated facility and not like it; vice versa, you can visit a low-rated facility that is clean, good smelling and has happy residents. A facility’s rating can be impacted by a single event on one day over an entire year. The recommended way to find a great facility is to visit it, do the “smell test” and talk to residents and their family.
  • Health insurance, Medicaid and Medicare typically pay for a semi-private room: two people in the room, unless a patient has a specific communicable disease. Most Nursing Homes allow a patient to pay extra for a private room.
  • If you are paying for the Nursing Home using your own money (called “private pay”) you can pick any Nursing Home.
  • If Medicare is paying then the facility needs to be Medicare approved. If Medicaid is paying, they select the facility.

Nursing Homes come in many types. They can be stand alone, part of a hospital or associated with an Assisted Living Facility. They can be for-profit or non-profit.

To find a Skilled Nursing Facility click here.