Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Facilities

Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Facilities

Understanding what Nursing and Therapy Services are Covered While at a Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center

Skilled Nursing and Rehab Centers | Post Operative Rehabilitation Facilities

Understanding what Nursing and Therapy Services are Covered While at a Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center

Skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities (SNFs) are designed to observe, manage and provide daily care under the direction of a physician. In addition, Medicare requires inpatient hospital stay of 3 consecutive days (3 midnights) or more to be considered. Skilled care can be found in either a nursing home or a hospital that meet Federal health and safety requirements. Medicare certifies that these facilities are equipment to give skilled nursing care and/or skilled rehabilitation services, and other related health services.

Returning Home After a Health Care Setback

The goal of skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities is to rehabilitate and return patients back to a safe, home-like environment whether this may be a residential home or assisted living facility (ALF). Skilled nursing and rehabilitation staff includes registered nurses, licensed practical and vocational nurses, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and audiologists. Physicians in the community may have privilege to follow patients at the facility or a physician will be assigned to manage the care of a patient during the rehabilitation stay.

What Medicare Covers During a Skilled Nursing and Rehab Stay at a Facility

Medicare covers certain skilled care services that are needed on a daily level up to 100 days. If you believe you or a loved one may benefit from skilled nursing and rehabilitation services it may be best to request an assessment evaluation be conducted during hospitalization for consideration.

(Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Facilities related terms: Nursing Homes, SNFs, Convalescent Homes, Convalescent Centers, Assisted Living Facilities, Retirement Homes, Long Term Care Facilities and Outpatient Rehabilitation Centers.)

Therapy Services offered at Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

What type of Modalities can I expect from a Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center?

Patients can expect the following types of Modalities:

  • Hot/Cold Packs
  • Ultrasound Technology
  • Anodyne Therapy
  • Electrical Stimulation
  • Hydro-Therapy


What Therapy Services are typically found at a Rehab Center?

Common Therapy Services at a Rehab Center are:

  • ortho rehab program
  • prosthetic/orthotic training
  • dysphagia therapy
  • therapeutic exercises for strength, flexibility and passive



What services can a Speech Therapist offer at a Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center?

Speech Therapy Services plays a vital role in healing especially after a stroke.  Speech therapist can assist patients with correcting voice problems, enhancing swallowing ability including neuromuscular electrical stimulation.  Be sure to ask if the skilled nursing and rehab center you are considering has available any specialized equipment to help retrain patients in proper swallowing techniques.

Safeguards at a Nursing Home/Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility

How can I find out more about a nursing home safety records?

Nursing home facilities are regulated by both Federal and State Agencies. Silver Census encourages prudent consumers to research state survey results for further information. Commonly known as convalescent homes or skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), state survey results can be found at under nursing home facilities. Should you get an opportunity to actually tour a facility, it is a requirement that state survey results be made available to visitors. Do not hesitate to inquire about the most recent inspection reports showing deficiencies against a facility. The average deficiencies in the United States per nursing home are seventeen. It is best to ask the Administrator as to the corrective actions made regarding the deficiencies so you are reassured that you or your loved one will receive quality care. The agency for Healthcare Administration also maintains copies of all inspection reports.

What happens when a resident in a nursing home becomes terminally ill?

Should a resident’s physician deem a patient can benefit from hospice extended care service, the resident will be admitted under hospice while at a nursing home facility. Nursing home facilities maintain a license for end of life care. Be sure to speak extensively about health care options so that the patient remains comfortable and maintains his/her dignity.

Can I tour a Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center before I decide to stay at the facility?

Yes, you can either stop by for a tour or call the admission director to schedule a tour.  Be sure to inquire about state survey results.  

Preparing for Rehab/Nursing Home Stay

Can I bring personal items to a Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility such as jewelry, cash or other expensive items?

You have the right to bring to any senior care facility your personal items. Most care facilities will discourage you from having cash or other expensive items as they will not be responsible for your property during your stay. Be aware you may be required to sign a waiver regarding this before moving into a facility.

Are private rooms available at a skilled nursing and rehab center?

Generally speaking, private room accommodations are considered a private pay upgrade ranging from $100 to $175 per day. Some care facilities based on a patient’s insurance may offer complementary private rooms so don’t be shy to inquire about this option.

Can a private duty home health aide that usually helps my father stay with him while he is admitted in a Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center?

Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers do allow patients both in either short term or long term care to pay privately for additional care. Be sure to check if a long term care policy once purchased perhaps covers this additional service. It is best to communicate with either the charge nurse or social worker at the care facility the individual’s name and home care agency where the caregiver was hired from so information can be noted in the patient’s chart.

Can any doctor follow their patients at a skilled nursing and rehab center/nursing home?

In selecting a care facility for you or a loved one, be sure to ask if your physician has privilege at any local rehabilitation centers in case you are admitted. Generally speaking there may be three to four physicians that visit patients in a care facility. Based on a patient’s insurance type will may determine the physician that they will be assigned to.

Why would my doctor recommend a short stay at a skilled nursing and rehab center?

If you or a loved one had a recent healthcare setback such as total hip surgery, a physician may encourage a few weeks stay at a rehab center for therapy.  Therapy and nursing at a rehab center tends to be more aggressive than home health services and treatment sessions are daily. 

Daily Living at a Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

What is the food like at most skilled nursing and rehab faculties?

All meals and snacks prepared in a skilled nursing facility/nursing home are monitored to be sure they meet a dietician’s criteria. Each senior care facility has its own guidelines and is also monitored by the Health Department for cleanliness and proper storage of food. Be sure to inquire about the care facility’s last inspection report from the Health Department. As well, don’t hesitate to request a meal to sample prior to selecting the most appropriate facility before making your decision.

Do Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers allow for family members to spend the night?

Generally speaking, it is best to ask a care facility about their rules and regulations regarding spending the night. A waiver may be asked to be signed to protect the care facility’s interest.

Do doctors or medical professional visit care facilities?

Some internists or family practice physicians have medical privilege at certain care facilities such as rehabilitation centers/nursing homes. Generally specialized physicians such as neurologists or pulmonologists do not follow their patients in care facilities and require patients to follow up with them at their office. Assisted living facilities and independent living retirement communities generally have a relationship with one or two physicians that are willing to do house calls. Be sure to inquire from a resident care coordinator at a community if the property has a relationship with a physician so your needs are met.

What is therapy like at a Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center?

Generally speaking, should the physician feel the patient is capable of having physical therapy the care facility may provide one to two hours of physical therapy daily. Patients will be assisted in using exercise equipment from balance devices, strengthening bands, treadmills, stationary bikes and light weight machines. Physical, speech and occupational therapist are available to meet the needs of the patients.

Do patient’s have to bring their own medication while in a Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center?

Medication is disbursed by the nurse at the facility. Medication management is provided by the sub acute center and prescribed by the physician that is in charge of your care while at the skilled nursing and rehab center. Cost for the medication is covered by your insurance while staying at the rehab center.

Going home after a stay at a Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center

What kind of support can I expect after a short term stay at Rehab?

Each skilled nursing and rehab center has a social worker in charge of discharge planning.  Based on your insurance will determine the length of stay and the home health care coverage you are entitled to receive after rehabilitation.  Also based on your diagnose and health conditions will determine if you qualify for durable medical equipment such as a rolling walker, wheelchair, three in one commode or hospital bed.  Be sure to discuss with the social worker about your options. 

What if I return home and I find I need additional care or recovery?

If you were discharged from a Medicare covered skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility, you can discuss with the facility and/or your physician about returning to the facility or another covered Medicare facility for further length of stay.  Factors that play a role in returning are amount of Medicare days you have left available to you from your Part A 100-day benefit period and skill required.

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