Types of Nursing Homes

Skilled Nursing Facilities

Skilled Nursing Facilities are covered by Medicare provided you have been hospitalized for at least three days and three nights and your care has been authorized by a doctor. Skilled nursing care must be administered by a registered nurse to qualify as a skilled nursing care under Medicare. This type of care is meant to be short-term rehabilitation care.

Basic Nursing Home Care

Care for a patient's daily needs can also be administered by licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants. A licensed practical nurse is a nurse who works under the supervision of a registered nurse. They are trained to take blood, measure vital signs and administer basic care. Licensed practical nurses must only complete one year of nursing training compared to the 4-year degree of a registered nurse or a nursing degree from an accredited nursing school. Many nursing homes are staffed largely by licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants. The care they provide is therefore not covered under Medicare.

Assisted Living Facilities

Most assisted living facilities have some registered nurses and licensed practical nurses on staff. However, an assisted living facility primarily helps patients with daily living duties such as bathing, eating and taking medications. These duties are not considered medically necessary under Medicare and Medicare does not cover them. Unless a person has Medicaid or long-term care insurance, they will have to pay the bulk of the expenses for this type of care out of pocket. Many assisted living facilities also offer skilled nursing care at the same facility. As a resident gets better or worse they are able to still stay in the same nursing home.

Furthermore, additional restrictions may be placed on the care provided in the nursing home or assisted living facility. Some places will not take or keep bed-ridden patients. On the other hand some facilities do. Some facilities also have special units that provide even higher levels of care and specialized care. An Alzheimer's Unit is an example of a specialized unit.

Home Health Care

Skilled nurses who work for a Medicare-certified health care agency provide home health care services. These nurses come to your home and monitor your recovery and rehabilitation. A doctor must order the care and it usually is only covered under Medicare as further rehabilitation after a stay in the hospital or a skilled nursing facility.

Hospice Care

Hospice care is reserved for terminally ill patients with a limited life expectancy. Hospice care is usually received at home and the goal is to make the patient as comfortable as possible before death.