What is a Nursing Home?
Many people think that all senior living options are nursing homes. Actually, nursing homes are for people that require a higher degree of medical attention than is typically available in assisted living. Additionally, when people speak about nursing homes, they are often referring to two different kinds of facilities:
- Skilled nursing facilities and rehabilitation hospitals provide short-term comprehensive inpatient care and rehabilitation for those recovering from acute medical issues such as stroke, heart attack, and respiratory issues and those who are recovering after surgery such as joint replacements or cancer surgery. They have specialized staff such as speech-language pathologists, rehabilitation specialists, and audiologists who are not typically staffed in a nursing home. Following a short skilled nursing rehabilitation stay, a patient assessment will be conducted to determine if the patient is able to return home or should move to a more structured environment, like assisted living.
- A nursing home, on the other hand, provides permanent custodial care of elderly or disabled people and is more in line with the traditional idea of a nursing home. These locations offer 24-hour care with certified health professionals, room and board, and assistance with non-medical, everyday living tasks such as bathing, grooming, bathroom use, medication monitoring, and more. Many nursing homes also have special wings for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
Some of the confusion arises because many nursing homes with a long-term custodial mission also provide skilled nursing facility services. The key difference between skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes is the required medical attention and the length of stay. The Nashville metro area includes a few rehabilitation hospitals, several skilled nursing facilities, and many traditional nursing homes.