A skilled nursing home is a medical facility providing services similar to a hospital. The homes are staffed with licensed nurses, shared rooms, hospital beds, regular scheduled doctor rounds, meals and housekeeping. Skilled nursing homes often provide a more pleasant setting with optimal nurse to patient ratios and relaxed atmospheres.
Skilled nursing homes provide both long-term and short-term care solutions for seniors. Unlike Assisted Living or Board and Care homes, skilled nursing homes provide solutions for patients with complex medical issues that require 24-hour supervision. These issues can include mental issues such as dementia and physical issues such as major infections, wound care, IV therapy, tube feeding and physical/occupational therapy. Skilled nursing facilities are also a common solution for seniors that are unable to care for themselves on daily basis such as those suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
A skilled nursing home typically provides a team approach when providing medical care to patients. A licensed individual, usually called the “administrator”, oversees the departments comprising the skilled nursing home. A licensed Director of Nursing [“D.O.N.”] is then responsible for the administration of each department providing care to residents. Each D.O.N. is directly involved in the medical care of each patient. Their duties include overseeing nurses, interacting with physicians and resolving any patient-related issues. In essence, the D.O.N. is the person overseeing the day-to-day medical care of the patient.
In addition to the Director of Nursing, a skilled nursing home will customarily have other professionals on staff to assist patients. A med nurse is always assigned for the sole purpose of administering medications prescribed for the patients. Physical and occupational therapists also work within the structure of care, coordinating specifically ordered therapies and reporting progress to doctors. An activities director is in charge of all social interaction and planned activities. Finally, a social worker is typically on staff to assist patients with emotional issues and arrangements for their care after discharge.