As a multidisciplinary field, each healthcare professional plays a distinct yet interlinked role in patient recovery. Among these roles, skilled nursing stands as a beacon of direct patient care, bridging the gap between doctors’ directives and the holistic recovery of patients.
This article delves into the importance of skilled nursing, its powerful impact on patients’ recovery paths, and the key considerations when choosing a provider.
What Is Skilled Nursing?
Skilled nursing provides medical and rehabilitative services to people with complex medical conditions who need help with activities of daily living (ADLs). While skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) typically provide these care services, you can also get them from assisted living facilities and some hospitals.
SNFs are staffed by the following healthcare professionals:
– Registered nurses
– Licensed practical nurses
– Physical therapists
– Occupational therapists
– Speech-language pathologists
They offer a variety of services that include:
– 24/7 nursing care
– IV therapy
– Wound care
– Medication management
– Personal care and social activities
Meanwhile, people who may need skilled nursing care include:
– People recently discharged from the hospital after surgery or a serious illness
– People with chronic conditions requiring ongoing medical care.
– People with conditions that make it difficult for them to perform ADLs
– People who are constantly at risk of falling
Top SNFs specialize in caring for different cardiology, neurological, respiratory, and orthopedic ailments. Follow this link to learn more about what skilled nursing care can do for you.
Why Skilled Nursing?
Beyond helping patients recover from illness or injury, skilled nursing care helps patients regain their independence by allowing them to focus on recovery. To give perspective on how SNFs achieve this, here are some ways skilled nursing enhances recovery:
1- Comprehensive care
At SNFs, patients have access to experienced healthcare professionals from different disciplines 24/7. This means physical and occupational therapists work with doctors to fine-tune therapy depending on the patient’s progress. For instance, if a patient experiences unforeseen complications post-surgery, an in-house physician can immediately assess and address the issue. This might involve tweaking medication doses to minimize side effects.
Continuity of care is a cornerstone of effective healthcare. By ensuring medical directives align with patients’ day-to-day realities, SNFs play an indispensable part in promoting swift recoveries and minimizing potential complications.
2- Increased Safety
SNFs are designed to be safe environments for people at risk of falls or other injuries, with staff members specifically trained to monitor and assist patients as needed. For instance, the best SNFs feature non-slip flooring, handrails in critical areas, and easily accessible call buttons. Moreover, these facilities conduct regular safety checks, ensuring equipment like wheelchairs and walkers are in optimal condition.
3- Enhanced Rehabilitation
As mentioned earlier, SNFs offer a variety of rehabilitation services that can help people regain their independence. For stroke patients, this entails access to physical therapists to help them regain strength and mobility. They also have occupational therapists helping them get back to performing ADLs, such as bathing, dressing, and eating; while speech-language therapy helps restore communication skills.
Moreover, skilled nursing care can provide intensive therapy, with patients working one-on-one with PTs and OTs. This type of care jumpstarts physical therapy, helping post-surgery patients achieve optimal results more quickly.
4- Focus On Recovery
By providing everything from meals (including special dietary needs) and grooming to social activities and even laundry services, patients can have a singular focus on rehabilitation and recovery. And as they get better, skilled nursing care can also transition to home services, allowing patients to reacclimate to a life of independence.
For those facing longer-term recovery timelines, skilled nursing care can help improve their quality of life. Apart from caring for their basic needs, SNFs can offer various social activities (bingo, games, arts and crafts, etc.) to keep patients active and engaged.
5- A Personal Touch
Human connection is a critical, albeit understated, element of healthcare. A skilled nurse often spends more time with the patient than anyone else. This fosters trust, making patients more receptive to care and treatments. In addition, the most effective skilled nurses offer invaluable emotional support that’s crucial to alleviating the mental toll brought by illnesses.
6- Reduced Burden On Family
Even helping recovering patients with seemingly mundane household chores can burden family and loved ones significantly. SNFs fill the void between hospital and home, reducing physical and mental demands and family members while providing the best nursing care possible.
Considerations For Choosing A Skilled Nursing Facility
While the benefits of SNFs are undeniable, not every facility will be aligned with your needs. Here are some vital considerations when choosing a skilled nursing care provider:
– Quality of care: While it seems obvious, ensuring the facility has experienced and qualified staff members is crucial. You can do this by asking your doctor for recommendations, reading online reviews, and visiting the SNF.
– Location: Convenience is essential to aiding recovery. As such, choose an SNF close to the recovering patient’s home. Finding one that’s also accessible by public transportation will also be beneficial. Ask the facility about their transport services if you have special transportation needs.
– Amenities: Some SNFs offer more amenities than others. Consider the amenities that are important to you and your loved ones when making your decision. For example, some SNFs have on-site gyms and salons, while others have religious services and regular activities for residents.
– Cost: Skilled nursing care isn’t cheap, averaging USD$7,000 to USD$10,000 per month depending on the services provided and the length of stay. But while Medicare, Medicaid, and some private insurance typically cover skilled nursing care, contact your healthcare insurance provider to ensure they cover SNFs.
If you think you or a loved one may need skilled nursing care, consult your doctor. They can help determine if it’s the right option and can help you find a qualified SNF.
From immediate postoperative care and chronic condition management to rehabilitation and palliative care, patients have experienced the power of skilled nursing care on their recovery journey. The profound impact of these facilities extends beyond their walls, influencing the lives of patients and their families alike.
As healthcare continues to evolve, embracing and optimizing the offerings of SNFs will undoubtedly be a cornerstone of patient recovery, helping enhance lives one day at a time.
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