Skilled Nursing vs. Long-Term Care | What’s the Difference?

woman exercising on exercise machine

Skilled nursing care and long-term care offer many overlapping services, and many people use the two terms interchangeably, but there are some significant differences between the two. 
Understanding the differences between skilled nursing and long-term care is the first step in determining viable care options for you or your loved one. Here is a brief explanation of what each type of care provides, and who can benefit:

What is skilled nursing care?

Skilled nursing care involves high-level medical services provided by trained professionals, including registered nurses, and physical, speech, and occupational therapists. Skilled nursing care can encompass both short-term services, such as rehabilitation from an illness or injury, or long-term services, such as those required for patients with chronic medical conditions that need around-the-clock care. Some examples of skilled nursing services include wound care, IV therapy, injections, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and regular monitoring of vital signs and medical equipment. Skilled nursing care is most often provided in a skilled nursing facility.

Who benefits from skilled nursing care?

One common misconception is that only senior citizens receive skilled nursing care, but the truth is that people of all ages benefit from skilled nursing care, including:

  • Patients recently discharged from a hospital who need extended post-surgical care
  • Patients who need rehabilitation from an injury
  • Patients who are recovering from an illness and need medicine that cannot be provided at home
  • Patients recovering from stroke or other brain injuries

What is long-term care?

Long-term care refers to custodial care, rather than medical care. It is a range of services and supports to help with basic activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, and using the toilet. It may also involve help with housework, medication management, shopping, and caring for pets. Long-term care services are offered by home health aides, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Patients who benefit from long-term care services may include those with:

  • Terminal medical conditions
  • Permanent disabilities
  • Chronic severe pain
  • Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

Skilled nursing at Bella Vista

Similar to long-term care, skilled nursing care includes help with ADLs, and many providers also offer transportation, social services, and social activities in addition to their overall treatment programs. If you or a loved one has a specialized medical condition that exceeds the limits of long-term care, Bella Vista Health Center can help. Our skilled nursing care covers a wide range of therapeutic and rehabilitative services, including:
Post acute rehabilitation: We provide a continuum of care for patients transitioning from hospital to home care, incorporating specialized medical care, strength training and exercise, pain management techniques, and adaptive equipment.

Stroke rehabilitation: Our goal-oriented treatment plan involves mobility training, motor skills exercises, and therapy to regain lost abilities including communication, balance, and basic daily duties.

Pulmonary rehabilitation: Our pulmonary rehab and respiratory therapy programs offer exercises, education, and support to patients with breathing difficulties from chronic illness or acute medical conditions, allowing them to achieve and maintain independence and functionality.

Physical therapy: We provide evidence-based, outcome-driven therapy programs customized to each patient to relieve pain, restore function, and enhance overall health through a variety of therapeutic exercises and specialized equipment.

Occupational therapy: We help patients restore functional independence and improve their quality of life with strength training, transfer training, and adaptive equipment training.

Speech therapy: We offer treatment, support and care for patients with communication, cognitive, and swallowing disorders that often occur after the onset of dementia, a stroke, or other neurological trauma. 

In addition to the highest quality skilled nursing care, Bella Vista Health Center also offers concierge services, salon services, a yoga and meditation center, nutritious and culturally diverse meals, and ancillary services including dental, vision, and podiatry. Regardless of age or medical condition, patients at Bella Vista can expect a comfortable, safe, and therapeutic stay in our facility.

Award-winning care in a 5-star facility

If you or someone you know is in need of skilled nursing care, Bella Vista Health Center offers short- and long-term rehabilitative care. Each treatment plan is designed by our team of compassionate professionals and aims to heal and empower patients to reach their maximum potential. Give us a call at (619) 644-1000 today to take a tour of our 5-Star skilled nursing facility in San Diego.