Smiling nurse comforts elderly man.
March 03, 2023

What is Skilled Nursing Care?

As you begin your research into long-term care options for yourself or for a loved one, you will likely come across various types of viable care services. One of the more common terms you will come across and may have questions about is skilled nursing care. But what is skilled nursing care and how does it differ from other types of nursing services? 

Today, we will be answering some of those questions so you can make an informed decision when the time comes.

What Is Skilled Nursing Care?

Skilled nursing care is a type of medical care that is provided to individuals who require a higher level of medical attention under the direct supervision of licensed health professionals. It is helpful to consider that skilled nursing is a description of the type of service that is offered. Although it can be a viable long-term care option for people with chronic conditions, it is also a great short-term option for those who need post-operative care or who are recovering from an illness or injury.

Skilled nursing care services can include: 

  • Phlebotomy Services
  • Wound Care
  • IV Medications
  • Supra Pubic Catheter Care and Urological Needs
  • Acute Illness Management
  • COVID-19 Recovery Assistance
  • Post-Operative Cosmetic Recovery

In-Home Skilled Nursing Care vs. Skilled Nursing Facility

Skilled nursing facilities or assisted living facilities provide around-the-clock care and supervision. In addition to medical services, they usually offer assistance with daily tasks such as bathing and dressing. The price of skilled nursing homes varies depending on the level of care provided; some facilities charge per patient per day while others charge a flat rate regardless of whether or not more than one person is cared for at once.

However, in recent years it has become increasingly common for seniors to receive short-term and long-term care in the comfort of their own homes. This allows individuals to receive the medical care they need while remaining in the familiar and comfortable surroundings of their own homes. As a result, more home health agencies are offering skilled services provided by medical professionals at clients’ homes.

Prices and coverage may vary depending on your state and insurance policy, but in Connecticut, home health agencies, such as Health Care Connectors, may provide an option of skilled nursing for Medicare (we will dive more into this in the next section). If the client does not have Medicare or does not qualify for it, there are other options available.

Does Medicare Cover Home Health Services?

When families start to look for home care services for their parents or loved ones, one of the first things they want to know is whether or not these services will be covered by Medicare. Although it is possible for Medicare to cover some home health services, such as skilled nursing, there are strict rules related to the types of home care services that can be provided through government-funded programs. For example, patients must be under the care of a physician and have an ongoing plan of care. Additionally, their care plan must be medically-certified as requiring intermittent skilled nursing care and/or time-limited in-home therapy services that will help to improve the patient’s health within a certain period of time.

Here is an overview of eligibility, according to the Medicare website:

All people with Part A and/or Part B who meet all of these conditions are covered:

  • You must be under the care of a doctor, and you must be getting services under a plan of care created and reviewed regularly by a doctor.
  • You must need, and a doctor must certify that you need, one or more of these:
    • Intermittent skilled nursing care (other than drawing blood).
    • Physical therapy, speech-language pathology, or continued occupational therapy services. These services are covered only when the services are specific, safe and an effective treatment for your condition. The amount, frequency and time period of the services needs to be reasonable, and they need to be complex or only qualified therapists can do them safely and effectively. To be eligible, either: 1) your condition must be expected to improve in a reasonable and generally predictable period of time, or 2) you need a skilled therapist to safely and effectively make a maintenance program for your condition, or 3) you need a skilled therapist to safely and effectively do maintenance therapy for your condition.
  • You must be homebound, and a doctor must certify that you’re homebound.

In addition to part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care, Medicare may cover additional home health services for eligible patients as well. These services include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech-language pathology services
  • Medical social services
  • Part-time or intermittent home health aide care (only if you’re also getting other skilled services like nursing and/or therapy at the same time)
  • Injectable osteoporosis drugs for women
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Medical supplies for use at home

We Can Help

At Home Care Connectors, we are proud to offer skilled nursing care through our medical affiliate, Health Care Connectors. Our professional private nurses offer a customized plan of care, collective problem-solving, and responsive schedule coordination through Medicare or on a private-pay basis. Whether you need a one-hour nurse’s visit or round-the-clock nursing care, we provide qualified Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who can come to your home or a loved one’s home to provide care.

By learning about the different types of skilled nursing care available in your area, and how we can help with specific medical conditions, you can make an informed decision as you discuss options with your physicians and specialists.