What's the Difference Between Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living Facilities?


What's the Difference Between Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living Facilities?

Adult children often become decision-makers when it’s time to choose long-term care for their aging parents. It is difficult enough to move a loved one out of their familiar environment, but when you also have to make a choice over the type of facility, it can become overwhelming. 

At Bella Vista Health Center in San Diego, we often receive calls from people inquiring about the differences between skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. We understand that the differences can be confusing, given that both provide personal care, meals, housekeeping services, social activities, transportation, and 24-hour supervision. Both also have security and emergency call systems, so what exactly is the difference between them? The chart below highlights some of the main differences.

Assisted LivingSkilled Nursing
Residents require assistance in daily living but do not need constant care. They are able to maintain some independence.Residents require constant care and have very limited capacities for daily tasks and self-care.
RNs and LPNs are accessible and on-call, but are not required to be present at all times.LPNs are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. RN's are on duty at least 8 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Prohibited to give medical care that the facility is not licensed to give.Licensed by Medicare and Medicaid to give skilled nursing care.
Focus is on healthy social environment and preventing isolation.Focus is on nursing care, but social activities are also available.
Regulated by state Department of Social Services.Regulated by state Department of Health.
Private pay environment - not covered by Medicare/Medicaid.Medicare covers "medically necessary" short-term rehabilitation services for up to 100 days, and Medicaid covers "medically necessary" long-term nursing care for those eligible. Private pay options also available.

Make yourself at home

If you’re looking for a skilled nursing facility for your aging parents or other loved ones, we’d love it if you’d stop by for a visit. At Bella Vista Health Center, we pride ourselves on providing a comforting and safe atmosphere for all of our skilled nursing residents. Come in take a look around our five-star facility. We trust you’ll find it welcoming, inviting, and homey.  And when you get a chance to meet our compassionate, professional staff, you’ll know you’ve come to the right place.