A Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) is a specialized class of "nursing home," as it is commonly called. SNFs provide custodial and skilled nursing care 24/7; "skilled nursing" is provided by trained professionals who perform services needed temporarily due to an injury or illness, such as:
- Care of post-operative wounds or dispensing and monitoring IV medications;
- Physical therapy to rehabilitate strength and balance issues;
- Speech therapy, following a stroke;
- Occupational therapy, helping a resident to become independent again, including being able to perform personal care tasks like dressing and eating;
Facilities also typically provide pharmaceutical, laboratory and radiology services; social and educational activities; laundry services; transport services; end-of-life care; and respite care (temporary outsourcing of senior care to provide primary caregivers with time off). Many facilities are specially designed to accommodate residents with long-term neurological ailments like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, as well as respiratory ailments and those who are increasingly physically frail.
Most importantly, Skilled Nursing Facility care is covered by Medicare Part A, based upon certain criteria. Meeting those criteria, residents are entirely covered for up to 20 days, and partial coverage between 21 and 100 days.