As hospitals increasingly prioritize early discharges, many patients find themselves at home or in a facility needing continued care before fully recovering. Whether you're a caregiver, someone recently discharged, or merely contemplating home-based assistance, understanding the value of skilled nursing is crucial.
Following a hospital stay, adhering to physicians' prescribed care and treatment plan is paramount. Yet, actualizing these recommendations isn't always straightforward. Many individuals, whether recuperating from illnesses, surgeries, or injuries, often need an extra pair of skilled hands to ensure proper healing.
Skilled nursing within a home care setting offers round-the-clock support, ensuring patients receive the requisite care tailored to their needs. If you're weighing the merits of home care, here are four ways skilled nursing can significantly benefit those recuperating at home.
What is Skilled Care?
Understanding the differences between skilled care and custodial care is critical. Both types of care aim to assist individuals with daily living, but the nature, duration, and specificity of the assistance differ significantly.
Skilled Care is primarily medical in nature. It's delivered by health professionals such as nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, or speech-language pathologists. This type of care is typically prescribed by a doctor following surgery, an accident, or a change in a medical condition.
For instance, someone recovering from hip surgery may need skilled care in the form of physical therapy to regain mobility. Skilled care might also involve wound care, administering injections, monitoring vital signs, or setting up and managing intravenous (IV) medications. It's usually temporary and is aimed at rehabilitation with the hope that the individual will eventually recover to the point where they no longer need such intensive support.
Skilled care can be delivered at home or in a rehabilitation facility.
Custodial Care, on the other hand, is non-medical assistance. It helps individuals with daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, and mobility. While the tasks involved in custodial care can be performed by health professionals, they often don't need to be—family members, aides, or other caregivers can provide these services.
People who require custodial care often suffer from chronic ailments, cognitive impairment, or general frailty due to aging. Unlike skilled care, which is recovery-focused, custodial care is typically ongoing and doesn't necessarily diminish over time. It aims to make the individual as comfortable as possible and assist them in maintaining a certain quality of life.
In the context of insurance, especially traditional health insurance and Medicare in the U.S., it's vital to note that coverage for these two types of care differs significantly. While Medicare and health insurance may cover skilled care under certain conditions, it generally will not cover custodial care.
1. Boosts Social Engagement
Embarking on the journey to recovery requires a supportive community. Facing health changes can indeed be daunting and emotionally taxing, but remember, you or your loved one are not in this alone. A dedicated team of skilled nurses stands by to guide you. Engaging with this support network can enhance your social interactions and uplift your physical and mental well-being.
2. Provides Personalized Care
Another benefit skilled nursing can provide to home care patients is personalized treatments and activities. Home nurses will receive information from your other health providers and create a recovery plan that fits your interests, lifestyle, and needs. This way, you can do things you enjoy and heal faster.
With the help of skilled nurses, home care and long-term care facilities can optimize their operations and provide better care to patients — a win-win!
3. Ensures Nutritional Support
Maintaining a well-balanced diet is pivotal for a smooth recovery. However, this can often pose difficulties, especially for older individuals. Skilled home care provides essential dietary support to those who might struggle independently. Many health providers even extend temporary meal services, ensuring their patients receive consistent nourishment throughout the day.
4. Reduces the Risk of Injury or Rehospitalization
A paramount advantage of skilled nursing for home care patients is the minimized likelihood of subsequent injuries or hospital readmissions. Though regaining independence remains the ultimate objective, rushing the process can be counterproductive. Skilled nursing offers physical therapy, wound management, and essential treatments, ensuring a steady and safe progression toward recovery.
When Skilled Care Becomes Primarily Custodial
The transition from skilled care to primarily custodial care marks a significant shift in an individual's health journey. Skilled care, which emphasizes specific medical needs and therapeutic treatments, evolves into custodial care when the patient's primary requirement becomes assistance with daily living activities rather than intensive medical or rehabilitation procedures.
Whether at home or in a facility like an assisted living establishment, the nature of care gravitates towards aiding with tasks like bathing, dressing, and feeding. The setting and quality of this assistance can significantly influence the individual's quality of life. Like any sector, there's a spectrum of care quality available. Unsurprisingly, the higher the quality of care, the more positive the impact on an individual's daily experiences and overall well-being.
However, there's a caveat to seeking top-notch custodial care: the associated costs. High-quality care often comes with a hefty price tag. For those without Long-Term Care Insurance, these costs can quickly erode savings, directly impacting personal assets and income. When an individual's income and assets are minimal, Medicaid steps in as the safety net to cover these care expenses. However, relying on this form of assistance isn't always ideal for those wishing to have a wider choice in care settings and quality.
Planning for the eventual need for long-term custodial care is not just a financial decision; it's a pivotal move for future peace of mind. Starting this process in one's 40s or 50s, long before the potential need arises, allows for a buffer against draining personal savings and adds a protective layer against undue stress on the family. When families are spared the anxiety of figuring out care logistics and funding, they can focus more on supporting their loved ones emotionally.
About the Author
Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.
Contributor since September 25th, 2020
Many individuals, perhaps yourself, meticulously consider their anticipated living expenses, travel aspirations, and potential health needs when crafting a retirement strategy. However, one area that often goes underemphasized yet holds significant implications for retirees is long-term care. As your life expectancies increase, so does the likelihood of requiring long-term care at some juncture, making it an essential facet to factor into retirement planning.
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