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Skilled Care

What is skilled care?

Skilled care is a term commonly used in the long-term care industry that denotes active, medically necessary care from a licensed medical professional. Skilled care may be needed on a one-time or consistent basis to continuously provide treatment for a chronic condition. Common examples of skilled care include physical therapy and rehabilitation, IV and catheter management, and speech therapy.

In the context of residency, the three main types of living options available for seniors are assisted living facilities (ALFs), nursing homes, and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). ALFs generally have registered nurses (RNs) on staff, but the main purpose of ALFs is to help with everyday tasks and quality of life—not provide constant skilled care.

For seniors with more intensive skilled care needs, a nursing home is more appropriate, as nursing homes provide 24-hour medical attention and are staffed with the expectation that residents will require a higher level of skilled care.

SNFs are similar to nursing homes in their capacity to provide skilled care, but generally cater more towards short-term rehabilitative stays, whereas nursing homes are more appropriate for long-term residency.

Why is skilled care important in healthcare?

Aging can result in health conditions that require constant monitoring and attention. Skilled care serves an important role in helping seniors maintain peace of mind that their needs are able to be attended to. If a health condition develops in a negative way at any time, healthcare professionals administering skilled care can use their knowledge to make an accurate assessment of the situation, provide necessary treatment and support, and seek the help of more specialized medical professionals if necessary.