A: Nursing homes generally provide twenty-four-hour medical care, room and board, activities, and more. They are intended for people who really do need twenty-four-hour medical care, not people who just need help with activities of daily living. Care is described as fitting into one of the two categories below. Please be aware that these definitions vary somewhat depending on the insurance provider, etc.

Custodial Care (non-skilled): Assistance with activities of daily living including bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, transferring from the bed to a wheelchair, etc. This is the type of care that can safely be provided by non-medical personnel. Generally, however, people who need this type of care and choose a nursing home over other care options also need some sort of regular medical care.

Skilled Nursing: Includes care that must be provided by or supervised by qualified technical or professional staff such as registered nurses, licensed nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, or audiologists. Examples include the administration of intravenous feedings, intramuscular injections, the insertion of catheters, and ultrasound therapy treatments. Basically, if the task could be safely done by a non-medical person, it is not skilled nursing. It is important to note that skilled services may be provided even if the patient’s full or partial recovery is not expected. Meaning, these services may be provided only to ensure the patient does not get worse. Additionally, patients with terminal illnesses still may receive skilled
care to alleviate pain, etc.