Nursing homes, also called skilled nursing facilities or convalescent homes, serve anyone who requires preventive, therapeutic and/or rehabilitative nursing care. Nursing homes provide residential care for people who don’t require hospitalization but need 24-hour care they can’t get at home. Some nursing homes are set up like a hospital with staff members providing medical care. Nursing homes also provide a wide range of other services.

Some residents also receive help with activities of daily living or participate in physical, speech and/or occupational therapy. Most nursing homes provide two distinct levels of care: one for short-term residents and the other for long-term care.

Short-term nursing home care serves patients requiring care following surgery or an acute illness or injury. These residents stay on a temporary basis while they recover from an injury or convalesce following hospitalization. Once they’ve recuperated and met their doctor-ordered health and wellness goals, they transition back to their own homes. This group typically makes up a small percentage of most nursing home residents and may include people of all ages.

Long-term residential care most often serves elders suffering from a chronic or terminal illness or cognitive disorder, such as Alzheimer’s. Long-term residents typically stay for the rest of their lives and require constant care and supervision. For these residents, the nursing home is more than a facility; it’s their home. Thus, some skilled nursing facilities are designed more like a home with a warm, reassuring environment and tranquil outdoor views and sitting areas to help put these residents more at ease.


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This information was shared with us from:

Betsy Wells

Community Outreach and Senior Advocate 

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