Many people use terms like nursing home, assisted living, and skilled nursing services interchangeably. The truth is that they each refer to different levels and types of care from highly capable medical professionals. Skilled nursing is one of the most misunderstood. It also happens to be one of the most critical for aging adults wishing to maximize independence and facilitate recovery from illnesses, injuries, and even the aftermath of various surgeries. Here's what you need to understand about skilled nursing and how it can help you or a loved one maintain and maximize independence.
Types of Skilled Nursing
There are essentially three types of skilled nursing services patients may require at different points in their lives.
- Physical therapy.
- Occupational therapy.
- Speech therapy.
Physical therapy is often required after an injury, illness, surgery, or hospitalization to help patients recover their range of motion and the ability to use certain limbs. For instance, many people require skilled nursing services after hip or knee replacement surgery to help them relearn to use those limbs. People who have suffered a fall may require physical therapy to keep their muscles in good working order while their bones heal. This is critical for their ability to return to an active life in the future.
Occupational therapy is often used to assist stroke victims and other accident victims. It can be used for the following purposes:
- Improving muscle memory.
- Enhancing balance and coordination.
- Boosting range of motion and hand-eye coordination.
These are all critical for allowing patients to return to independent living after they've fully recovered.
Speech therapy is essential for facilitating communication for patients who struggle after an illness or injury. Stroke patients often struggle to communicate in the immediate aftermath of their conditions. With access to skilled nursing speech therapy, many are able to return to their previous communication abilities. Those who cannot fully recover previous speech and communication functions learn new communication tools that allow them to maximize their independence as they recover.
It takes a highly trained group of medical professionals working in concert to assist in a full return to independence. However, for those who are able to return home and live independently after a surgery, accident, illness, or injury, the services these professionals provide are priceless. Take your time and choose carefully when selecting the skilled nursing provider for your (or your loved one's) recovery. It's an important decision that should not be left to chance.