What Are the Most Common Skilled Nursing Services in Senior Living Communities?

As parents and grandparents require increased health and wellness care, family members are tasked with helping them make informed decisions. Many people consider residential communities, which offer wide-reaching options that include assisted living, independent living and skilled nursing services, among others. Each of these living arrangements offers our valued family members specific treatment and care depending on their wellness needs.

But not all life plan (or full-service) communities are created equal, nor do they all offer the care necessary to minimize disruption when skilled nursing rehab is necessary. By understanding what skilled nursing services and rehabilitation provides, your family can make the best choice possible.

What are Skilled Nursing Services?

One of the challenges that everyday people face is understanding the differences between the various types of living environments and care for our aging community members. Terms such as “assisted living,” “nursing home” and “skilled nursing,” among others, have become almost interchangeable. It’s essential to understand the differences to make good choices about ongoing care.

The term nursing home typically refers to the physical structure that aging community members inhabit. Nursing home residents don’t need to be in the care of a hospital, but they do need round-the-clock medical attention that can’t be provided in a home. On the other hand, assisted living refers to the type of care people receive in a residential community setting. Assisted living includes supervision, coordination, and assistance with activities of daily life. This may involve 24-7 assistance with medication, housekeeping, meals, and many other daily activities. The level of assistance is based on the individual.

What separates skilled nursing rehab and services from these other communities is that top licensed professionals carry out the duties with a specific goal in mind. Skilled nursing services are also regulated by the U.S. Department of Health and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This care level is routinely provided in hospitals, quality assisted living centers and life plan communities, meaning it’s offered at assisted living and memory care facilities. For an organization to earn CMS certification, it must pass rigorous inspection that ensures residents enjoy the quality of life they deserve.

Skilled nursing offers short-term rehabilitation as well as long-term care. This means that residents within the Independent Living and Assisted Living communities can benefit from the short-term care when they are recovering from things such as surgery or illness to help regain mobility or get back on their feet after treatment. Residents in Memory Care can also benefit from long-term skilled nursing care, receiving the necessary medical care they require.

When is Skilled Nursing Needed?

It’s not uncommon for skilled nursing services to be needed after a hospitalization. When a marked decline in health follows a hospital stay, professional nursing rehab may be needed as a short-term measure to get people back on their feet and living their active lifestyle. In these cases, skilled nursing services are typically temporary.

When the rehab has been completed, people often transition back to independent living. Community members may reassert their daily routines with the same vigor as they did before their hospital stay. In essence, skilled nursing rehab acts as a bridge between hospitalization and a return to normal life.

In other cases, skilled nursing services can transition people from serious hospital procedures into high-quality, assisted living. For those who require some level of assistance with the activities of daily living such as getting dressed and grooming, skilled nursing helps maximize the post-procedure outcome. In this way, professional nursing rehabilitation aims at minimizing assistance and improving quality of life independence.

For instance, getting back to your normal routines of walking around the community to enjoy the company of friends or light shopping add up. The seemingly little things that residents are able to regain or maintain make a world of difference.

Common Skilled Nursing Services

If you or a relative suffered a stroke, heart attack or underwent an invasive surgery, rehab at a skilled nursing community may rank as the best option after being released from the hospital. In many cases, Medicare covers skilled nursing rehab as long as a doctor prescribes it. You may need skilled nursing even if you haven’t recently suffered something. It may be the best way to get the ongoing care needed to improve daily life. These typically include the following services.

Physical Therapy

The role of certified physical therapy in skilled nursing can include short- or long-term treatment and care. The goal is to help patients recover and regain the maximum range of motion possible following an injury, illness, or surgery. A physical therapist helps people strengthen muscles, restore mobility and increase flexibility. Aging community members often face accompanying challenges such as arthritis, hip replacements and joint stiffness that require skilled nursing specialists. Friends and family members who use wheelchairs can enjoy wide-reaching benefits from physical therapy that include improved mobility and flexibility, among others.

Occupational Therapy

One of the primary reasons people rely on skilled nursing rehab is the clear benefits of occupational therapy. The practicality of working on skills such as getting dressed, hand-eye coordination and negotiating a daily living environment deliver a proven quality of life benefits in everyday life. An occupational therapist works closely with people on the step-by-step processes of fine motor skills and memory strengthening, among others.

Speech Therapy

Following a significant health event, too often, people struggle with compromised speech. In skilled nursing immersion, family members receive communication therapy and necessary care. These are common speech dysfunctions that aging parents and grandparents may experience.

Aphasia: The ability to comprehend, process or communicate verbally is not unusual following health events such as stroke. This may also include a diminished capacity to express oneself with written words.

Dysphonia: This speech disorder is typically recognized by a person’s voice becoming hoarse. Often associated with health conditions such as a larynx nerve injury or tumor, the negative impact on speech can be curbed through specialized therapies.

Dysarthria: When people seem to stumble over words and have difficulty with the rhythms of speech, it may stem from a degenerative disease such as Parkinson’s. Speech therapy buoys language skills.

Although speech therapy is commonly employed following a health incident, this type of skilled nursing care provides ongoing benefits for assisted living and memory care community members as well. As people age, the tissues, glands and muscular around the mouth and jaw tend to change. When these parts of the body start to weaken from normal aging, speech therapy helps people maintain quality communication skills.

Other skilled nursing services and rehab typically include pain management, wound care, prescription medication oversight and joint replacement care, among many others. The professionals invested in the treatment and care may include registered nurses, licensed therapists, registered dieticians, licensed practical nurses and healthcare administrators, among others.

Comprehensive Skilled Nursing Services at The Lodge

At The Lodge, skilled nursing services will be available to help independent or assisted living community members regain their strength and heal, transitioning them back to their daily lives so they can continue doing activities they love. In terms of memory care residents who may not necessarily regain full health, skilled nursing will focus on improved daily life and comfort.

When considering a continuing care retirement community, having compassionate professionals who can deliver skilled nursing rehab onsite helps family members seamlessly return to a robust quality of life. If you or a family member is considering a residential community, The Lodge could be the right fit for the services and care you and your family members are looking for. To learn more about this brand new full-service retirement community in Columbus, GA, contact us today.