Whether you require post-surgery recovery and rehabilitation, or a family member does, this blog is for you. Furthermore, if you are providing discharge care from Memorial Medical or HSHS St. John’s Hospital or planning ahead for a family member you will have a better understanding between assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.

You want to be as informed as possible about the kind of care your loved one – or patient – will receive. Depending on the nature of the recovery, a different solution will be needed. 

These are tricky waters to navigate, and we want to help in whatever way is possible. We’re here to clarify confusion and steer you on the correct treatment path. 

In this blog, we’re discussing the differences between skilled nursing and assisted living.

Those seeking short-term, focused care to recover from surgery will likely benefit most from a brief stay at a short-term skilled nursing facility. Alternatively, assisted living is for those in need of a long-term solution to help with everyday activities.

Reading about the differences between the two will give you peace of mind, knowing that your patients or loved ones are in a supportive environment. We all share the same vision, and that’s a return to the best possible quality of life after surgery.

What Are the Characteristics of Short-Term Skilled Nursing Homes?

The Heart and Soul of Treatment Revolves Around the Discharge Plan

A patient’s stay at a skilled nursing home isn’t permanent. That said, these types of facilities treat their guests like family, making them feel at ease with compassion, care, and attention.

Discharge planning begins the moment a patient arrives. An itinerary is created that ensures guests are fully supported and prepared by the time they go home. 

On top of the fantastic care, durable equipment, home services, medications, and many other aspects are involved in discharge planning. 

All patient needs will be met, providing comfort and healing during their time in a given rehab facility. This helps ensure guests are 100% prepared and supported when it’s time to check out. 

Specific, Personalized Care

These surgery rehab facilities magnify every patient’s unique set of needs. Guests receive customized services catered to their safe return home. 

The teams in these nursing homes are tireless in providing comfort and aiding in a patient’s recovery. Moreover, these experts have well-rounded skill sets focused on all parts of the healing process. This includes experienced nurses, physicians, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and physical therapists. 

At these facilities, a patient’s safe return home is the number one priority. That’s why no stone goes unturned in having the available medical professionals always at the ready.

All Care is Available in One Place

Other care options offer treatments on a specific schedule, scattered throughout the week or month. 

At short-term rehab facilities, the care never ends. It’s the entire reason such facilities exist. Everything is in one place for the patient. 

This care functions on one core principle: After surgery, patients need experts by their side at all times to provide motivation and compassion to achieve the best possible recovery.

Who Most Requires a Stay in a Skilled Nursing Facility?

The types of patients requiring the services of a skilled nursing home are those in need of intensive medical care. 

For instance, those requiring a specialized line for IV medications, ventilators, respiratory therapy, or who’ve suffered wounds, both surgical and non-surgical, would benefit from skilled nursing. Seniors requiring a registered nurse by their side 24/7 providing medical treatment or daily therapy services should consider one of these facilities. 

What Are the Characteristics of Assisted Living?

A Residential Setting

An assisted living facility is a permanent home and an exciting new community to spend one’s golden years.

These facilities might offer recreation options such as exercise classes, family events, and other enrichment activities. There’s also commonly available transportation for those who can’t drive—so residents can participate in outside activities such as social outings or beauty appointments. 

Registered Nursing Care

Assisted living centers employ a registered nurse (or nurses) who liaisons with families, doctors, and other relevant parties. These individuals tend to be highly compassionate, giving the community members everything that they’ve got.

Instead of round-the-clock care, it’s more distanced oversight and a watchful eye to ensure residents aren’t displaying any symptoms.

In these facilities, residents receive specified care plans, which will typically be reassessed every few months.

Outpatient Services

For residents in need of outpatient services (e.g., physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy), a specialist can be brought in. 

Generally, those specialists will visit a few times per week. 

Who Should Live in an Assisted Living Facility?

Residents who have not had a traumatic surgery or have suffered an injury can stay in an assisted living facility. This style of care is for seniors who enjoy their bustling social life but need some help with the following daily activities:

  • Eating
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Exercise
  • Medication management
  • Social environment

Your elderly loved ones have worked hard for a long time. As they get older, these little things become more of a challenge. But that shouldn’t get in the way of their quality of life. Assisted living ensures seniors can get the most out of their day-to-day without being bogged down or overburdened. 

Which Kind of Healthcare is Better?

Given the difference between skilled nursing and assisted living, one can’t be called better than the other. In fact, the two can work alongside one another. Someone in assisted living might require surgery or experience a fall and would benefit from a brief stay in a short-term rehab skilled nursing facility.

Conversely, a patient might not require assisted living but requires an intense, focused rehabilitation from surgery or an injury. In this case, a short-term skilled nursing facility (such as The Bridge Care Suites) is the best way to help and ensure a good start to an assisted recovery in order to return home.

Where the two styles of care contrast the most is through the level of care offered. An assisted living community can’t provide the 24/7 care, multifaceted medical services provided by short-term rehab centers.

Whereas those needing a little bit of help throughout the day don’t need such thorough rehab.

The moral of the story? The final decision on a loved one or patient’s care should be based on their highest needs to ensure a safe, sound, happy and healthy life.