The Differences Between Skilled Nursing Care and Assisted Living

Bethesda Health | August 31, 2017

When your Mom or Dad reaches the point when they need more care than you can provide, do you know what you’ll do?

Assisted living and skilled nursing care are two valuable senior care options, according to Lea Ann Coates, Residency Counselor at Bethesda Hawthorne Place, an assisted living and memory support community located in the Kirkwood/Webster Groves area. Choosing the right level of care for your loved one depends largely on two major factors: the amount of care they need and the setting in which they’d prefer to receive it.

Differences Between Skilled Nursing Care and Assisted Living

Skilled nursing care includes 24-hour, high-level medical attention provided by trained professionals, such as licensed RNs, LPNs, certified nurses’ aides (CNAs) and physical, speech, and occupational therapists. Skilled nursing care services may be provided to seniors over a short period of time for rehabilitation from an illness or injury, or they may be required indefinitely for residents who have a chronic medical condition. Examples of skilled nursing services for seniors include monitoring of vital signs and medical equipment, wound care, intravenous (IV) therapy, injections or physical therapy.

Assisted living, which is probably the fastest-growing long-term care option for seniors, offers a wide range of services. Assisted living environments are ideal for older adults who can live relatively independently, but also require some assistance or supervision to remain safe and independent. Examples of services offered at an assisted living community include assistance with activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, food preparation), medication management, housekeeping, and transportation.

Is Skilled Nursing Care or Assisted Living Best for Your Senior Loved One?

One of the primary differences between skilled nursing care and assisted living is the level of care needed and the senior’s ability to get around on their own.

“Skilled nursing care may provide things like catheter changes, complex wound care, and IV medications, antibiotic therapy, and feeding tubes,” said Lea Ann. “Assisted living care does not provide this type of complex medical care or continuous oversight.”

In an assisted living environment, seniors must be able to live in their apartment safely without direct supervision, although some assistance is available for their daily care needs. Skilled nursing care for seniors offers complete care for daily tasks, including bathing, dressing, using the restroom and for general hygiene.

If you’re not sure what the best path is for your loved one, Bethesda Hawthorne Place evaluates and assesses each potential resident, which helps families make the best decision for their loved one.

The Bethesda Difference

Bethesda is bridging the gap between skilled nursing services and assisted living by providing some of the more intensive services that might be expected in a skilled nursing setting within the Bethesda Hawthorne Place assisted living community – while still allowing its seniors to live their lives as independently as possible.

“Residents may be able to take advantage of home health at Bethesda Hawthorne Place, depending on what care is needed and the ability to stay safe in the assisted living environment,” Lea Ann said. “Assisted living is most successful for seniors who want the predictability of hands nearby, while enjoying a higher degree of independence and capability.”

While Missouri law requires an assisted living community to have a nurse in the building for only eight hours a week, Bethesda Hawthorne Place schedules a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse to be on the premises 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assure advanced, expert care is always available.

When your loved one is ready to make the move to an Assisted Living community or receive skilled nursing care, Bethesda is here to help! With a wide range of senior care services across the St. Louis area, we can help you find the right fit for your senior loved one. Contact us or schedule a tour at Bethesda Hawthorne Place to learn more.

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