How To Support Someone In Skilled Nursing


After an illness, injury, or surgical procedure, a patient may be referred to a skilled nursing facility for a period of focused recovery and rehabilitation. At skilled nursing facilities, a team of experienced doctors, nurses, and therapists provide round-the-clock medical care. But to promote healing, it’s important to address the patient’s mental, spiritual, and emotional health, as well.

Friends and family play a significant role during the recovery process. If you have a loved one staying in a skilled nursing care facility, your support can help improve their spirits, which will in turn improve their chances for long-term health and happiness. Here are a few tips on how you can show support for someone in skilled nursing.

Visit regularly.

Spending time with your loved one while they’re in a residential care center is probably the most effective way to show your support. All skilled nursing facilities have designated visiting hours for friends and family. Schedule your visits ahead of time so your loved one will have something to look forward to. When you show up, remain positive and encouraging, and remind them of how important they are to you.

Take advantage of technology.

Unfortunately, between hectic schedules and long distances, it’s not always possible to make in-person visits. But you can still conduct regular “virtual” visits, via Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts. While it’s not quite the same as being able to hold your loved one’s hand, you can still maintain communication and keep them connected to the world outside the skilled nursing facility.

Share a meal.

Communal eating is an essential daily ritual, and an important way to build relationships and establish a sense of normalcy. Consider joining your loved one for a midweek dinner or a Sunday brunch. Most skilled nursing facilities offer delicious and nutritious dining options, but depending on your loved one’s dietary restrictions, you may also be able to bring one of their favorite dishes from home.

Encourage socializing.

Maintaining social connections is crucial to mental health. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can lead to stress, depression, and reduced immunity, all of which impede the recovery process. That’s why many skilled nursing facilities offer a variety of amenities and activities, including group outings, fitness classes, creative pursuits, games, and celebrations. Review the schedule of events with your loved one and encourage them to participate. If possible, attend some of the activities yourself.

Create familiar surroundings.

While skilled nursing facilities provide a nurturing and compassionate environment, the unfamiliarity may be upsetting at first. To help make your loved one feel more comfortable, try bringing in items to remind them of their home. Photos of family members or special trinkets strategically placed around their room can provide reassurance, and a favorite pillow or blanket can make their bed a more restful place to be.


The transition to a skilled nursing facility is sometimes stressful. Your loved one may experience fear, anger, or frustration, especially in the beginning. It’s important to listen to their grievances without judgment. Provide an empathetic ear and let them know you’re there for them during this stressful period of their lives. Sometimes, just knowing someone who cares is listening will provide comfort and alleviate concern.

Bella Vista Health Center provides skilled nursing care in San Diego

If your loved one is in need of skilled nursing care, you’ve come to the right place. Bella Vista Health Center provides a caring and compassionate environment and top-notch medical care. We take a holistic approach to healing and customize treatment plans to address the specific needs of each patient. With a variety of rehabilitative programs, special amenities, and a full schedule of activities, your loved one will have a comfortable, therapeutic, and enjoyable stay at Bella Vista.

Call us at (619) 644-1000 to schedule a tour of our 5-star skilled nursing facility.