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  • Scott Beigie

What is the difference between long term care, assisted living, and skilled rehabilitation?

The senior healthcare industry can be challenging to navigate. This is especially true for families and individuals who have no previous experience with facilities such as Bethany. A common question that we receive from families/individuals when inquiring about Bethany is: What is the difference between long term care, assisted living, and skilled rehabilitation?

The following will be a brief discussion about what makes each of these offerings different to better help you as you explore what options you or your loved one may need.

Long Term Care

This service or level of care can go by different names. Some also reference long term care as skilled nursing care, 24-hour care, or nursing home care. Long term care is a service for individuals needing 24-hour assistance with their activities of daily living. This would indicate someone needing assistance with all or many of the following: dressing, bathing, walking, eating, using the restroom. This need can come about because of physical impairments or cognitive impairments.

Long term care services are typically paid for in one of three ways: private funds, Medicaid, or a long-term care insurance policy.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is a service for individuals who may not need 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living such as walking, bathing, using the restroom, etc. but do need some assistance with a few of these activities. An individual who would be appropriate for assisted living is typically still able to do many of the activities in their daily routine without assistance. For instance, this could mean someone is able to complete their dressing routine in the morning and evening independently but requires assistance with bathing for safety concerns.

Often, assisted living services are private pay. Some facilities may offer Medicaid waiver apartments, but this is an important question to ask when researching facilities.

Skilled Rehabilitation

Skilled rehabilitation is intended to be a short-term rehabilitation stay for patients; most often after an acute medical situation resulting in a stay at a hospital. The concept of skilled rehabilitation is to receive continued medical care along with therapy services in an effort to transition back home or to a facility with an appropriate level of care for the individual’s needs.

Skilled rehabilitation is often covered by an individual’s Medicare A benefits or Medicare Advantage Insurance Plan (AultCare Primetime, Aetna, Anthem, Humana, SummaCare, etc.) due to their acute change/circumstances. If a loved one is in a situation where they may require this type of care, it is important to have clarifying discussions with one’s insurance company, doctors, and potential facilities to clearly understand what assistance will be provided by an insurance company to pay for these services. Each Medicare Advantage plan is different and not all facilities are able to accept all plans.

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