All nursing homes provide what is commonly referred to as “custodial care”, which essentially involves assisting residents with their day-to-day activities. In most facilities, nursing staff feed, bathe, and dress guests, help them in and out of bed, and administer medication as needed.
Most of these are provided by staff at traditional nursing homes. But skilled nursing care facilities go beyond this basic range of services, offering a higher level of medical care. They are also more likely to be covered by nursing home insurance, which could alleviate some of the concerns of patients and their families.
How skilled nursing homes differ from traditional nursing care facilities
Skilled nursing homes and traditional nursing homes differ in other ways as well. Here are the most significant differences between both types of nursing care facilities:
1. Type and range of nursing care
Nursing care facilities differ in the type and range of care provided. Skilled nursing homes generally deal with patients with more complex medical needs, such as those recovering from surgery. On the other hand, traditional nursing homes care for patients that require general assistance or less intensive medical care.
2. Nursing staff on duty
Most skilled nursing homes have similar staffing as hospitals, with highly-trained nursing care professionals working around the clock. Of course, most facilities have fewer patients to take care of than nursing staff at large hospitals.
In contrast, traditional nursing facilities usually provide minimal medical care. In most cases, nurses’ aides perform most of the required tasks.
3. Organizational structure of the facility
Many skilled nursing homes are owned and managed by large healthcare companies or corporations. They generally provide higher quality care because their stock performance is often affected by the success of the nursing care facility.
On the other hand, traditional facilities usually operate as nonprofits or public agencies. This sometimes results in a limited range of services or lower-quality care due to the reduced accountability in meeting federal government standards.
4. Approach to patient care
Skilled nursing homes usually place more emphasis on the residents’ needs and well-being. Unfortunately, many traditional facilities don’t provide the same level of care due to inadequate resources, overpopulation, or the need to prioritize profit over quality care.
5. Degree of family involvement
All nursing homes require a degree of family involvement in the care of their residents. But skilled nursing facilities generally assume most of the responsibility of caring for the patient. Many traditional nursing homes require considerably more assistance and involvement from family members.
6. Cost of nursing care
Skilled nursing care is considerably more expensive than traditional nursing care. The average cost per day in most skilled nursing homes is around $200, while in traditional nursing homes, the daily average cost is closer to $182.
7. Amenities offered
Skilled nursing homes usually offer more and better amenities than traditional nursing care facilities. Rooms are generally bigger with fewer patients per room, the food is generally of higher quality, and more recreational options are available.
8. Insurance coverage requirements
Skilled nursing homes usually have more comprehensive insurance coverage than traditional nursing care facilities. This could be an important consideration for families and patients concerned with protection against malpractice, neglect, improper care, safety and health issues, and other insurance risks.
Which one should your client choose?
As an insurance agent, your clients will likely ask for your professional opinion on which option is better: a skilled nursing home or a traditional nursing care facility? The answer would depend on your clients’ needs and preferences, considering the factors outlined above.
You will also have to consider which option will be more advantageous to you while still ensuring that your clients get the type and range of care they deserve. You can help your clients make a more informed decision by asking them the following questions:
- What does your primary care physician recommend?
- Do you need intensive care?
- Are you recovering from surgery?
- Can you afford the cost of an intensive care nursing home?
Ultimately, your client’s decision should be based on the type and range of care they need. As an insurance agent, you have a responsibility to help your client make the right decision based on the answers to these questions.
Making the decision to check an elderly family member into a nursing home is never easy. Furthermore, the difficulty can be compounded by unfamiliarity with the differences between skilled and traditional nursing care. Hopefully, the information provided here will help your clients choose the option that will best benefit their loved ones.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at (877) 226-1027.