Difference Between Short-Term Care and Long-Term Care

difference between short term care and long term care

Despite portrayals in popular entertainment, skilled nursing facilities are not exclusively designed for senior citizens needing long-term care. Skilled nursing services cater to diverse medical needs and a variety of patients: active senior citizens recovering from knee replacement, older seniors with chronic medical conditions, or anyone (of any age) in need of physical therapy or wound care after a car accident, for example. 
For more information on the differences between short-term care and long-term care, as well as the skilled nursing services you can expect at Bella Vista Health Center, take a look below:


Difference Between Short Term Care & Long Term Care


Short-term care is temporary

As its name suggests, short-term care is temporary medical aftercare following a surgery, injury, illness, or other medical condition that is expected to improve. Services typically last several weeks or a few months, or sometimes longer depending on the severity of the condition being treated.

Short-term care is goal-oriented

short term care 

For patients in need of rehabilitation services, short-term care aims to return them home as soon as medically possible. Physical therapy is designed to relieve pain, restore function and enhance health, while providing individualized treatment programs that can be continued at home. Occupational therapy strives to equip patients with the necessary skills—and often, customized tools—for proper self-care, such as dressing, personal hygiene, and cooking.

Short-term care provides medical and custodial services

In addition to wound care, the dispensing of medication, and rehab services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy (in the case of stroke), skilled nursing facilities also offer custodial care. Skilled nursing professionals help patients with dressing, bathing, using the restroom, eating, and mobility until the patient recovers their independence.

Long-term care provides skilled nursing services indefinitely

Long-term care is ideal for seniors or others with chronic or progressive medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, permanent disabilities, dementia, or a debilitating stroke, especially when the level of care exceeds what loved ones can provide on their own. Skilled nursing facilities are staffed 24/7 by medical professionals trained to deal with any health issues that might arise, giving loved ones and patients peace of mind.

Long-term care offers comprehensive treatment

Long-term care involves medical, therapeutic, and personal care services for those with physical or mental conditions that limit their ability to function independently. In addition to addressing medical needs, skilled nursing facility staff can assist with custodial care such as personal hygiene, eating, and getting in and out of beds and chairs. While rehabilitation services such as physical and occupational therapy are the cornerstones of short-term care, they are also offered to patients receiving long-term care in order to relieve pain and discomfort, and improve mobility and functionality as much as possible.

Long-term care includes a variety of amenities

Because long-term patients may spend years in skilled nursing facilities, many places offer a variety of amenities to make the facility a “home away from home.” Such amenities include fun social activities, salon services, local transportation services, financial management, and supportive services to address the psychological and emotional needs of patients and their loved ones.

5-star care in a 5-star facility

If you or a loved one is in need of short-term care or long-term care at a skilled nursing facility in San Diego, Bella Vista Health Center can help. Our 5-star rated facility offers the highest standard of care and the most comprehensive amenities, including free concierge service for our residents and daily activities that focus on the mind, body, and soul. If you have more questions about our services, call us at (619) 644-1000  or fill out our contact form to set up a tour of our beautifully remodeled Lemon Grove facility.