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What to Expect From Skilled Nursing at Home

Discover the important aspects of skilled nursing at home. Seniorly explores the pros and cons of skilled nursing at home.

By Lydia Bruno · Updated Aug 08, 2022
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What is skilled nursing at home?

Skilled nursing at home is a type of in-home senior care that provides specialized care services and support for individuals who need help recovering from illness or injury. Some of the services typically included in skilled nursing at home are medication management, personal care assistance, activities of daily living (ADLs), physical therapy, nutrition counseling, meal preparation, and emotional support.

Services included in skilled nursing at home can vary depending on individual needs, but may also include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Medical equipment
  • Wound care
  • IV therapy
  • Monitoring of vital signs
  • Medication management
  • Catheter care
  • Injections
  • Incision and drainage care
  • Rehabilitation services

The benefits of home health care

When your elderly loved one needs skilled nursing care, there are several things to consider. One important factor is whether home health care or a nursing home is the best care option. Although a nursing home (more often called a “skilled nursing facility” or “SNF”) may provide more comprehensive, long-term care there are many benefits to choosing skilled nursing at home.

Your loved one will be able to stay in their familiar home environment while receiving the care they need. This can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as strengthen their sense of security and comfort.

Another benefit of skilled nursing at home is that your loved one will be able to receive individualized care from highly trained professionals who understand their unique needs. This level of personalized attention isn't always possible in a nursing home setting, where there may be many residents with diverse needs.

Finally, skilled nursing at home is typically more cost-effective than a nursing home stay. This is partly because most health insurance plans, including Medicare, will cover some of the costs associated with this type of care. If you're still not sure whether home health care or a nursing home is the best option for your loved one, talk to their doctor about what they recommend. 

How to choose the right skilled nursing at home

According to AARP 77% of all adults 50 and over want to stay in their own homes and age in place. Sometimes due to life circumstances, this is not always possible and a skilled nursing facility (SNF) may be needed. If your loved one is able to choose skilled nursing at home here are a few ways to make sure it is right for them.

When choosing skilled care at home for your loved one, it is important to consider factors such as the level of care they need, their preferences, budget, and the experience and qualifications of the care providers. Some questions you may want to ask when evaluating potential skilled nursing providers include: 

  • What training do the caregivers have?
  • Are there any specialized services or programs that may be beneficial for my loved one's needs?
  • What is the care team's approach to managing symptoms and improving quality of life?

The advantages of home care for seniors

As seniors often face a number of health challenges, including mobility issues, chronic pain, and mental health conditions, skilled nursing at home can be an invaluable resource. Some of the benefits skilled nursing at home can provide for seniors include increased independence, improved quality of life, and reduced stress levels.

Home health care can offer a personalized care plan, which means more time dedicated to the health and care of your loved ones. There are so many advantages to home health care such as quicker recovery time, help with reducing pain levels, and the ability to recover in their own home and surroundings. 

With in-home care, you or your loved one can live at home with the assistance of an experienced professional. These home care professionals can assist with hourly care or daily live-in care. The advantages of home health care include:

  • Personalized care - The benefits of receiving a personalized care plan that is tailored to their needs, lifestyle, and preferences means they can continue living life as normal while getting the extra support when needed.
  • Being in the comfort of your own home - Being in their own home can bring about the comfort of knowing that they can sleep in their own bed, sit in their favorite chair, and stay close to their spouse/partner, family, and pets. The comfort of home can help with progressive memory conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia or mobility issues.
  • Greater independence - Most seniors worry about losing their independence. Staying at home guarantees self-reliance with choosing when to get up, when to eat, when to bathe, and when to socialize on their own terms.
  • Family support - One of the best advantages of home care is having your family members and friends be a part of your daily care plans.
  • Home services are one-on-one care - Your loved one can get the assistance they need quickly without waiting for another to receive care first.
  • Flexible schedule - This allows your loved one to complete the tasks on their own schedule. Skilled nursing facilities also do not allow you to see your loved one whenever you would like. They have set days and times that you can visit.
  • Relief for family caregivers - Home health care is a great way for loved ones and friends to provide personalized support for care. Home health aides provide assistance with daily tasks, such as bathing or dressing.  Home health care can also educate family members on how best to follow up after an illness/injury in order to protect against caregiver burnout.
  • Saves money- Home health care saves money by helping to prevent the need for assisted living facilities or nursing home care. With help at home, seniors can avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital. Some of the costs of home care can also be covered under Medicare or private insurance.
  • Companionship - It is much easier for a home health care team, family, and friends to visit their loved ones when they are in their own home instead of a skilled nursing facility. Since there are no time constraints the patients get more interaction which combats loneliness and isolation.

The disadvantages of home care for seniors

  • Socialization - For those who are social in nature, they will not receive the same social benefits at home as they would in residential care.
  • Members of the home health care team may change - Many agencies change their care support from week to week. This can be very unsettling for older people and their families that like to have a routine.
  • At-home care may be cheaper in the beginning -  Other costs must be considered in the long run such as ramps, chairlifts, and railings which can become pricey.
  • Strangers are unwelcome - Some older people may not trust people outside of their family. Allowing new people into their homes may make them feel vulnerable and uneasy. Make sure to discuss with your senior what makes them most comfortable in their own home.

What to expect from skilled nursing at home care

When receiving skilled nursing at-home care, you can expect to receive individualized care based on your specific needs and goals. This may include regular check-ins with your care team, personalized care plans and treatment regimens, assistance with ADLs, and emotional support.

How Medicare covers skilled nursing at home

Medicare typically covers skilled nursing at home under Part A or Part B if medical care is necessary to help recover from a recent illness, injury, or hospital stay. Depending on your loved one’s specific situation, they may be eligible for part-time care that is covered under Medicare for skilled nursing at-home services. To qualify for this coverage, they must be under the care of a doctor and have a care plan created by their doctor. They must also need part-time care certified by their doctor. They may also qualify if they need physical, speech, or occupational therapy that will help their conditions improve under the care of their doctor and the specialists. 

You are not eligible for Medicare coverage if you need more than part-time skilled nursing care and skilled nursing services. If you have questions about whether or not you or your loved one qualify for Medicare coverage for skilled nursing at home, visit Medicare.gov.

Works Consulted:

Davis, Michelle. ”Despite Pandemic, Percentage of Older Adults Who Want to Age in Place Stays Steady.” AARP. November 18, 2021. https://www.aarp.org/home-family/your-home/info-2021/home-and-community-preferences-survey.html.

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written by:
Lydia Bruno

Lydia Bruno

Copywriter for Seniorly, with 5+ years experience in professional caregiving and senior housing
View other articles written by Lydia

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