Skilled Nursing Versus Assisted Living: What’s the Difference?

August 20, 2020

Searching for care options for a loved one can sometimes feel like a vocabulary test.

With so many types of care available, the names may seem interchangeable – but each type of care serves a specific need to ensure the best possible outcomes for your loved one.

One example of this is the distinction between skilled care and assisted living.

Skilled nursing facilities offer nursing and rehabilitation services to help both short-term and chronic conditions. These facilities, sometimes still referred to as nursing homes, offer both medical care (like physical therapy, IV therapy, catheters and wound care) and personal care (like assistance bathing, dressing, and handling chores). Examples of typical skilled nursing patients could include a person recovering from a stroke or someone who needs physical therapy after a car accident.

Typically, patients do not stay in skilled nursing facilities for extended periods of time – rather, they receive skilled care and either return home or transition into assisted living care.

Assisted living communities provide a combination of housing, personal care, and health care services in a residential setting. These communities are designed to accommodate residents’ needs, maximize their privacy, and minimize their need to relocate. Examples of typical assisted living residents are seniors, including those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Some assisted living communities serve individuals with developmental disabilities or specific medical conditions.

The cost associated with skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities differ, along with whether Medicare will cover. Learn more about paying for long term care here.

Learn more about the different types of facilities and the kinds of long term care they offer here.