Did you know that more than half of U.S. adults will have surgery in their senior years? Or that stroke is among the leading causes of disability in seniors, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information? These are just two of the scenarios where a senior may have additional medical needs after a hospital discharge.
Following a stay in the hospital, such as for an illness or surgery, many patients have continuing medical needs. Seniors, in particular, may take longer to recover from an event that requires hospitalization. They may also need to adjust to permanent changes to their lives, such as a disability brought about by a stroke. There are choices about where to go next, including back home, to a nursing home, or to a skilled nursing facility. Take time to understand the full continuum of choices and select the best one for yours or your loved one’s needs.
What Comes After a Hospital Discharge?
As eager as a senior might be to return home, leaving the hospital marks a major transition, one that may require multiple steps. For the patient and for those caring for them, continuing to get the proper level of care is the top priority.
For someone who has not experienced this kind of transition before, they might think the only choices are to return home, move in with a relative or move to a nursing home. Actually, different types and levels of care are available. In the ideal scenario, a senior can get the right level of medical care that they need in the place they already live, but we will get to that in a moment. First, let’s define and compare several potentially confusing terms.
Skilled Nursing vs. Home Rehabilitation: Pros and Cons
Often, during a hospital stay, all a senior can think of is returning to their own, familiar bed and all the comforts of home. They miss their family, neighbors, pets, and cherished belongings. Yet, going home after a serious illness, injury or surgery raises several concerns.
Challenges of Recovering at Home
First, the patient may require continuing physical therapy, speech therapy, an IV, monitoring of vitals, or other medical services. If they have transportation or the ability to drive, they may be able to get some of these needs met in a clinical setting. If not, they may need in-home skilled nursing from various medical practitioners.
Life at home presents other challenges, too. Seniors may find themselves with mobility restrictions, such as the inability to use stairs, get in and out of the bathtub, or reach high cabinets. In order to manage, the patient may need to live with a relative or have a relative live with them for a while. These arrangements don’t always work out and tend to have ripple effects on the lives of the whole family.
Benefits of a Skilled Nursing Facility
A skilled nursing facility (often shortened to SNF, pronounced “sniff”) offers numerous advantages over home rehabilitation. The same skilled nursing care described above, including various therapies, treatments, equipment, and more can be made available in one location.
When receiving skilled nursing services in a place designed for that purpose, everything works seamlessly. Rooms accommodate special needs by design, with features like ramps, grab bars, lower countertops, and other features. Medical practitioners are typically more readily available, and some level of nursing or personal care may be available around the clock. Meals and cleaning may also be included. A senior staying there can even get opportunities to meet other seniors for some socializing, and take their minds off of their recovery for a little while.
What’s the Difference Between Skilled Nursing and a Nursing Home?
Some folks incorrectly assume that a skilled nursing facility is a nursing home. The primary difference is that skilled nursing takes place for a limited period, usually until certain recovery goals are met. A nursing home is intended as a long-term residence. It provides “custodial care” such as bathing, grooming, and mobility assistance but typically does not include on-site medical professionals.
A more modern—and accurate—term for a nursing home is long-term care. Many people with chronic conditions, including Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease, benefit from long-term care.
How to Combine Skilled Nursing with Senior Living
Living on a campus that offers a full range of care provides the best of both worlds. A senior can transition between skilled nursing and independent living or assisted living, depending on their needs. They can get specific, short-term medical needs met while still living in a homelike community and also accessing more routine care like dental services and medication management.
Benderson Skilled Nursing at Aviva
Aviva proudly offers services for all kinds of seniors with a broad range of health and wellness needs. This includes skilled nursing care. Seniors who call Aviva home get the ability to easily move from one living environment to another, as needs evolve.
Benderson Skilled Nursing provides personalized care that comprises mind, body, and spirit. Compassionate, skilled nurses are available 24-hours a day. Benderson Rehabilitation offers one-on-one physical, occupational and speech therapies to help restore you or your loved one to normal activity.
Aviva residents can get the short-term care they need, right on campus, before transitioning back to their typical living situation or move to another level of support if that’s what they need.
Recovering from a hospitalization is never easy. But by understanding all of the options and relying on a trustworthy care provider, a senior and their family will make a more smooth and successful recovery and live the fullest life they can.