Senior Living
What Is SNF or Skilled Nursing Facility?

What Is SNF or Skilled Nursing Facility?

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What is Skilled Nursing Facility


Elderly people often need intensive care, especially if they’ve been ill or have suffered an injury. While there’s no need for a long-term hospital stay, they might still need daily care to recover. The services of a skilled nursing facility will help you through these challenging times.  If you’re considering a move to a skilled nursing facility, here’s what you need to know. 

What Is A Skilled Nursing Facility?

Skilled Nursing Facility is the full form of SNF medical abbreviation. It’s a rehabilitation center where hospital patients are transferred after leaving the hospital. Seniors usually stay at an SNF for up to 100 days, and licensed medical professionals take care of them while they are there.

Skilled Nursing Facility Definition: What Is an SNF? 

Trained medical professionals provide in-patient rehabilitation care. Some of these are: 

  • Registered nurses (RNs)  
  • Licensed practicing nurses (LPNs)  
  • Certified nursing assistants (CNAs)  
  • Speech pathologists  
  • Audiologists  
  • Occupational therapists  
  • Physical therapists  
  • Orthotists and prosthetists 

Your loved one can only join an SNF if a medical doctor orders it at the hospital. But, SNFs must adhere to federal regulations to ensure a safe environment for the elders. 

A Skilled Nursing Facility is a short-term nursing care center for those who need continuing care once discharged from the hospital.

What Are Examples of Skilled Nursing Care?

Patients who require intensive skilled medical care are best-suited for skilled nursing facilities. Patients are cared for by competent nurses and doctors who specialize in senior care. They specialize on a variety of services, including Alzheimer’s care and short-term rehabilitation. The following is a list of short- and long-term care services provided by skilled nursing facilities:

  • Recovery from strokes: this skilled nursing care includes rehabilitation, speech functions, and more.
  • Regular wound care: this area involves treating wounds and administering the possibility of infections.
  • ADL care: assistance with daily activities like bathing, eating, and dressing. It is also known as Custodial Care.
  • Regular rehabilitation care: speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy care for patients after a serious operation.
  • Severe medical condition care: nursing care provided for patients with acute illness that can threaten his or her life.
  • Parkinson’s care: specific care for Parkinson’s diseases (in specific facilities).

Who Should Consider Skilled Nursing Facility?

Nursing care facilities play an important role in the senior care industry. But it can be a difficult decision for you or your loved one to move to a skilled nursing facility. There are certain circumstances that can help you ease into the decision. You should consider skilled nursing facility if you have any of the following conditions:

  • You are at a high risk of slipping and falling every now and then. Because of risk of falling, you will end up needing 24/7 medical care. In such a situation, a nursing home is the best option.
  • If you need long-term medical care assessment, your best choice is to shift to a skilled nursing facility. Short-term medical care can be provided by family members who act as caregivers. But long-term medical care requires skilled and professional handling.
  • Ask yourself- will your family be able to care for you 24/7? When you need constant medical supervision, it is quite impossible for a family member to care for you. There will remain many gaps in their care plans. As a result, the best option is to opt for skilled nursing facility.


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What Requirements Do Skilled Nursing Facilities Need to Maintain?

Skilled nursing facilities must stick to federal regulations. Before nursing care starts, assessing your loved one’s needs and developing a care plan is done. This process is also the backbone of record-keeping for each patient. 

Regulations also demand that each medical center have enough staff to fulfill all the older adult’s needs. On top of that, the post-acute centers must ensure that: 

  • Each patient is hydrated 
  • Nutrition is suited for your loved one
  • Medical equipment is functioning and available at all times
  • Adequate supervision of patients take place

Medicare covers admission under the following terms:

  • You have Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) with days left on your benefit period. The benefit period starts the day you’re admitted to a hospital or a Skilled Nursing facility. It ends 60 days after you’re discharged.
  • You have to qualify by having a 3-night stay at a hospital. 
  • Your doctor must believe that you need skilled nursing care daily. 
  • Skilled nurses and therapists must provide the care. The care must relate to the condition treated during your hospital stay. 
  • The medical center is certified by Medicare. It needs to meet and maintain the criteria according to the Medicare certification. 


What skilled nursing services does Medicare cover?

You’re not crazy if you expect Medicare will cover skilled nursing care costs. However, coverage limits can be perplexing, and you must complete specific standards prior to your stay.
In a nutshell, Medicare will cover short-term stays in skilled nursing facilities in certain circumstances. If you require continuous or long-term care in a skilled nursing facility, you will be required to pay for these services out of pocket or via other programs.

The coverage provided by Medicare for skilled nursing facilities is divided into benefit areas. A benefit phase begins when you are admitted to a hospital or skilled care facility as a patient.

Various amounts are provided over the course of the benefit period. When 60 days have passed without the need for hospital or skilled nursing care, the benefit period expires. If you return to the hospital after the 60-day period has expired, a new benefit period will begin.

Below is a complete list of items that Medicare covers for skilled nursing services:

  • A semi-private room shared with other
  • Meals and nutritional counseling
  • Skilled nursing care
  • Rehabilitation services – physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, respiratory therapy
  • Medication & medical supplies
  • Medical social services
  • Swing bed services
  • Ambulance transportation

Cost of Skilled Nursing Facility

A skilled nursing facility always includes a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) on-site 24/7. There are other amenities like assistants, registered nurses, and patient beds. All these together increase the skilled nursing facility costs.

On average, SNF can cost $275 per day. In a nursing facility, seniors can find semi-private and private rooms. Private rooms are costlier with $290 per day expenses. On the other hand, semi-private rooms can cost $255 per day on average.

If you want monthly estimations, you will need to understand that that might be your most common plan. Most seniors need to stay long-term in a skilled nursing facility. The monthly cost for skilled nursing care is around $7650 on average

Finally, the average yearly cost can reach as much as $125,000 by 2030. Currently, the costs are $105, 850 yearly for the private rooms and $93,075 each year for the semi-private rooms.

What’s the Difference Between a Skilled Nursing Facility and a Nursing Home? 

Skilled nursing facilities typically provide short-term care, while Nursing Homes provide long-term stays. While both facilities offer help with ADLs and healthcare, SNFs provide medical care outside of the hospital before you finally go home. 

1. You can access skilled nursing care at home, but an SNF is a dedicated medical center where licensed professionals provide nursing care. 

2. An SNF is not a Nursing Home because a patient’s stay is only temporary. Yet, the terms Nursing Home and skilled nursing facility are used interchangeably. 

3. SNFs care for patients under a doctor’s supervision. So, it’s the same kind of care you’d get in a hospital. Yet, SNFs provide transitional care where the aim is for you to get well enough to go back home. 

4. A Nursing Home provides similar care levels, but an RN supervises nurses and nurse aides. 

5: The elders often live in a Nursing Home if they can’t care for themself because of medical, behavioral, functional, or cognitive issues. So, Nursing Homes provide long-term care for seniors who are suffering from severe illnesses.

Services Provided in Nursing Home vs Skilled Nursing Facility 

The services provided in a nursing home and a skilled nursing facility can vary greatly. Here are the differences in services provided by skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes: 

Nursing Home  Skilled Nursing Facility 
Provides long-term care Provides short-term care  
Provides more basic care  Provides more intensive medical care 
Examples: bathing, eating, personal hygiene, medication management, insulin injections, etc.  Examples: rehabilitation from acute illness, injury, wound care, speech therapy, etc. 
Nursing Home vs Skilled Nursing Facility

Choosing between Skilled Nursing Homes vs Nursing Homes

So when choosing between a Skilled Nursing Facility and a Nursing Home, it comes down to your goals. Are your goals leaning towards rehabilitation or comfort? Does your loved one have the potential to recover? Are they strong enough to withstand therapy? 

The rule of thumb is if you can withstand 3 hours of high-intensity therapy, you can survive the whole course.

If you need long-term care due to a debilitating illness and old age and if you are very weak and frail, a Nursing Home would probably be best.

Check out some of the top nursing homes in the USA:

  1. The Highlands – FITCHBURG, MA
  2. The Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation – Decatur, TX
  3. Montage Hills – Denver, CO
  4. Jubilee Assisted Living – Weston, FL
  5. Union Plaza Care Center – Flushing, NY
  6. Elizabeth Nursing And Rehab Center – Elizabeth, NJ

3 Critical Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Elder-Care Medical Facility

    1. Recent medical issues: 
      Let’s say your loved one had a stroke recently; you might need this type of sanctuary. While rehabilitation can happen at home, having on-site medical staff speeds up recovery.  

    1. Regular daily care:   
      Some conditions need a longer-term approach. Having 24/7 access to professionals often speeds up the recovery process. The nurses will ensure medication is on time and check vital signs. Usually, home recoveries take longer if there are gaps between nursing visits.  

    1. Medicare’s 100-day rule 
      Medicare pays for up-to-100-days stays. While the fund pays the full amount up to the first 20 days, it only pays a part of the bill from day 21. You or your loved one will have to pay the shortfall.


The SNF medical abbreviation means Skilled Nursing Facility. While an SNF is a post-acute center that provides short-term nursing care, a nursing home permanently takes care of seniors in need. SNFs offer a variety of services, including nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. They may also offer social activities and meals

Since these medical centers are regulated, rest assured that the facility will take care of the seniors’ needs. 

Learn about other Senior Living options here.

Also, check out some related articles from our blog: 


How much is a skilled nursing facility per month? 

The monthly cost for skilled nursing care is around $7650 on average. 

Is a nursing home a skilled nursing facility? 

Nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities are not the same. The main difference between nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities is that nursing homes provide long-term care while SNFs provide short-term care. Also, nursing homes typically offer a wider range of services, including meals, social activities, and personal care. Skilled nursing facilities, on the other hand, specialize in providing rehabilitative services. 

Can you leave a skilled nursing facility? 

Yes, in most cases you can leave a skilled nursing facility. However, you should always check with your doctor or the facility staff to get their permission before you leave. 

Can a skilled nursing facility kick you out? 

Skilled nursing facilities are not allowed to forcibly remove residents from the premises, except in cases of emergency or if the resident is in violation of facility rules. If a resident does not want to stay at the skilled nursing facility, the resident may leave at any time. If you feel that you are being treated unfairly or that your rights are being violated, you should discuss the situation with an attorney

Can a skilled nursing facility refuse a patient? 

Yes, a skilled nursing facility can refuse a patient. Skilled nursing facilities have the right to refuse admission to patients who they feel are not a good fit for their facility or who may pose a threat to other residents. 

Where Can You Get Skilled Nursing Care? 

Skilled Nursing Care can be found in various care facilities such as hospital wings and even in Nursing Homes. If you are at a loss with where to start looking, Medicare.gov provides a helpful list on their website.

Is Skilled Nursing a Nursing Home?

No. Skilled Nursing is a type of senior care, and a Nursing Home is a senior living facility i.e., assisted living or independent living. But, Skilled Nursing can also be found in some Nursing Homes.

How Long Can You Stay in a Skilled Nursing Facility?

You can stay as long as you can pay. If you are covered by Medicare, you can stay up to 100 days. After which, you will need to pay out of pocket. 

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