What is the Difference Between Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living?

Senior Living
nurse helping elderly woman

Posted: October 14, 2020

Many families must face the necessity of making a decision for their elderly loved ones who may no longer be able to care for themselves. Every family has to make the best decision based on the health of their loved one. Although you might not think there is ever a ‘right time’ to consider moving to a Skilled Nursing community, it is important to be informed and prepared so you can prevent making a decision or a move during a crisis.

The Difference Between Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Care

Sometimes people use the terms “assisted living” and “skilled nursing care” interchangeably, but the truth is that they are two very different things.

Assisted Living communities provide residents with a lower level of care, which is primarily focused on the activities of daily living (ADLs). These can include assistance with activities such as eating, medication reminders, and personal hygiene. Residents of assisted living communities do not need around-the-clock nursing care. Most of these communities cannot treat individuals who need wound care, medical monitoring, or therapy.

Skilled nursing care provides care or treatment that can only be performed by licensed nurses. For example, if an elderly family member has suffered a stroke or is recovering from surgery, they might not be ready to come home from the hospital. Or perhaps they might be at home, but their caregiver is overwhelmed and unable to provide care any longer.

Skilled Nursing communities such as Clermont Park can provide a wide range of services and medical care, such as wound care, intravenous (IV) therapy, injection administration, and monitoring of vital signs and medical equipment.

A skilled nursing community can also provide the rehabilitation services your loved one needs, including physical, occupational and speech therapy.

The staff at a skilled nursing care community typically includes a medical director or Director of Nursing, registered nurses (RNs) and licensed professional nurses (LPNs) and other licensed therapists.

Skilled nursing care might be needed short- or long-term, but while residents are there, they need care 24-7. Guests often come to Clermont Park for rehabilitation after a hospital stay, then go home. Others come to us from home care, but their condition has deteriorated in such a way that family can no longer care for their needs, so they move in and become part of our community. At Clermont Park, we have a continuum of care for peace of mind: Residents may start out in our Assisted Living neighborhood and one day find they need extra support and they are able to receive that in our Skilled Nursing neighborhood.

What Are the Medicare Options for Skilled Nursing Care?

Medicare generally does not pay for long-term skilled nursing care, but it covers short-term care while you or a loved one recovers from an illness or injury.

Medicare will pay for skilled nursing services if a physician prescribes specialized therapies (including physical and occupational therapy), medications, medical equipment and supplies, and social services, to help with recovery. Only Medicare-certified skilled nursing communities, such as Clermont Park, are eligible. You can read more about Medicare and Skilled Nursing here.

What Should You Look for in a Skilled Nursing Community

Here are some tips to help you choose the right Skilled Nursing community:

  • Make sure the community provides the care the care that is needed and if there if special services (like memory support and special therapies) are available.
  • Ask about staff training and turnover, staff to resident ratios and if there is an RN or Director of Nursing in the community at all times. Meet our Skilled Nursing Team.
  • Ask about meals. Find out if there is a dietician on staff to ensure that residents will be getting a balanced diet. Can special dietary requests be accommodated?
  • Find out about life enrichment and activities. How does the community keep residents active and engaged?
  • Location matters. The closer the community is to family, friends, preferred doctors, the better.
  • Licensing, industry ratings, and testimonials. All skilled nursing care communities must have the required state licenses available for you to see. How is the community rated by industry professionals? What do current or past residents, guests, and family members have to say about their experience?

Do your Homework and Take a Tour

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) has a variety of resources for consumers as does Medicare.gov to assist you in comparing skilled nursing communities. Follow the community on social media to get a feel for what life in the community is like. And finally, Before making a decision, check out the floor plans, take a virtual tour and be sure to ask to a sample room if possible, (sometimes they are all occupied) as well as dining area, outside and other common areas.

Navigating the decision making process to find the right level of care and the right community is a difficult one. We are here to help! Read one Clermont Park resident’s story about moving during the pandemic and how residents are finding purpose and belonging at Clermont Park.

Get In Touch With Us

We’re here to answer your questions and to help infuse everyday with joy & happiness. Fill out the form below to connect with a representative.

Thank You For Contacting Us!

Here's what you can expect next.

You contacted Clermont Park for more information

2 We will call you at:
(555) 555-5555

You'll speak with a Senior Living Advisor

During the hours of:

Mon-Fri: 8am - 5pm

In the meantime, check out the following resources:

Clermont Park Senior Living Community is managed by Christian Living Communities and is a full service life plan community. We offer Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care as well as Skilled Nursing, Rehabilitation and Adult Day. Clermont Park Senior Living Community is located in Denver, Colorado and services the areas in and around University Hills, University Park, South Denver, Englewood, Southmoor Park, Cherrl Hills Village, Edgewater, Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, Aurora, Greenwood Village, Applewood, Littleton, Centennial, and Highlands Ranch. We also are an ideal senior community for those in the zip codes 80222, 80224, 80246, 80209, 80210, 80113, 80237, 80121, 80111, 80223, and 80112.

Clermont Park Life Plan Community adheres to all regulations as written in the Americans with Disabilities Act and The Fair Housing Act and accordingly prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, familial status, disability (whether it be mental or physical), or sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation).