A skilled nursing facility, (SNF) also known more generically as a nursing home is the highest level of care for elders outside of a hospital.
Nursing homes provide custodial care, including getting in and out of bed, and providing assistance with feeding, bathing, dressing and going to the bathroom. However, nursing homes differ from other senior housing facilities in that they also provide actual medical care.
Nursing Homes Provide Nurse And Physician Care
A licensed physician supervises each patient’s care and a nurse or other medical professional is almost always on the premises. Skilled nursing care is available on site, usually 24 hours a day. Other medical professionals, such as occupational or physical therapists, are also available. This allows the delivery of medical procedures and therapies on site that would not be possible in other housing.
Locating A Nursing Home
Chances are when you are looking for a nursing home, you are also under pressure to move fast due to a recent hospitalization or a loved one’s serious decline in a health. The more information you have, the greater your chances of finding the right fit for your loved one.
Obtaining The Essential Information – Services And Fees
You have the right to be told in writing about all nursing home services and fees, including those that are charged and not charged to you, before your loved one moves into the nursing home and at any time when services and fees change. In addition:
- The nursing home can’t require a minimum entrance fee if your care is paid for by Medicare or Medicaid.
- For people seeking admission to the nursing home, the nursing home must tell you (both orally and in writing) and display written information about how to apply for and use Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
- The nursing home must also provide information on how to get a refund if you paid for an item or service, but because of Medicare and Medicaid eligibility rules, it’s now considered covered.
Limits On What Medicare Will Pay
Long-term Care Services – Skilled Nursing
Medicare does not pay the largest part of long-term care services or personal care—such as help with bathing, or for supervision often called custodial care. Medicare will help pay for a short stay in a skilled nursing facility, for hospice care, or for home health care if you meet the following conditions:
- You have had a recent prior hospital stay of at least three days
- You are admitted to a Medicare-certified nursing facility within 30 days of your prior hospital stay
- You need skilled care, such as skilled nursing services, physical therapy, or other types of therapy
- If you meet all these conditions, Medicare will pay for some of your costs for up to 100 days. For the first 20 days, Medicare pays 100 percent of your costs. For days 21 through 100, you pay your own expenses up to $140.00 per day (as of 2013), and Medicare pays any balance. You pay 100 percent of costs for each day you stay in a skilled nursing facility after day 100.