Though skilled nursing is often associated with elderly patients, it covers much more than senior needs. When you're too healthy to remain hospitalized, but not yet able to return home, this type of care bridges the gap. It combines rehabilitation and medical care. More importantly, individuals of any age can benefit from the high-level care.
"Following a hospital stay, a doctor may order nursing services for you as you heal," says Nick Williams, Chief Operations Officer for PruittHealth. "Your individual needs and goals are monitored to help you make progress."
A moving target
Staying current with a care plan is an important part of the healing process. Skilled nursing involves a flexible care plan that meets the continued and changing needs of the patient. Skilled nursing facilities employ licensed nurses who are equipped to meet those needs. Your healthcare providers work as a team with the patient and your family, so that everyone agrees on the care plan.
The power of teaching
It's intimidating to head home with a stack of instructions or exercises you're unfamiliar with. Another key facet of nursing care involves teaching patients how to perform independent activities again or participate in intense rehabilitation. Examples include stroke recovery, post-surgical transition and bowel training programs. Physical, occupational and speech therapy may each be incorporated into a care plan for patients as needed.
Specialized medical services
Nursing care requires specific medical training and often around-the-clock monitoring that isn't available at home. Skilled nursing facilities are licensed and inspected by their state. Injections, enteral feeding, sterile catheter placement and nasopharyngeal aspiration are a few examples of services that require skilled nursing. Additionally, a medical professional must administer certain pharmaceuticals. As supportive as family and friends can be, there are some tasks they just can't do.
"We often see skilled nursing linked synonymously with nursing homes," says Nick Williams, COO for PruittHealth. "While they may provide similar services, a skilled nursing facility may be focused on short-term rehabilitative services and restoring independence."
If you need additional care after a hospital stay, discuss options with your doctor. Find the best match and learn what to look for in a facility to get back to everyday living quickly.