What therapies does skilled nursing offer?
The therapies a patient receives in skilled nursing depend on why they’ve entered the facility and how serious their needs are.
Some of the treatments offered in skilled nursing facilities may sound similar to those offered in rehabilitation facilities and even assisted living, and there is some overlap.
- Transferring, including from bed to a chair, or into a wheelchair or walker
The main difference between skilled nursing and assisted living: assisted living is a long-term residential move. Skilled nursing may be shorter-term, but skilled nursing caregivers can still assist with ADLs as needed — likely in tandem with physical or occupational therapies — while patients work to regain their independence as much as possible.
Speech-language therapists in skilled nursing work with a variety of patients, including those with dementia, patients who have suffered a stroke and those who have developed swallowing disorders (also known as dysphagia).
Speech therapists can devise treatments that address cognition, memory, speech and even eating and swallowing.
For patients recovering from an injury or surgery, skilled nursing caregivers can monitor and dress wounds or incisions and administer antibiotics to prevent infection.
Patients living with chronic wounds, including ulcers, may need more specialized care, and some facilities offer advanced treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy and more.
Skilled nursing caregivers can ensure their patients take the right amount of their medications at the right time, whether orally, intravenously or via a catheter. They can also monitor for side effects and ensure they’re tolerating the medication well.
Patients in skilled nursing may also need help ensuring they get the fluids and nutrients they need to remain healthy and be as successful as possible throughout the other treatments they’re receiving.
Skilled nursing caregivers will monitor the food and water patients are taking in if they’re eating and drinking independently. They can also ensure that intravenous hydration systems and feeding tubes are properly inserted and maintained.
Skilled nursing therapies aren’t on everyone’s minds when they begin thinking about senior living.
But if you’re planning ahead and want to keep enjoying retirement and secure access to future care, should you need it, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (or CCRCs) could fit the bill.
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