Many people may think nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities are the same, but this is not the case. In this article, we will discuss the key differences between these two types of care facilities. We will also talk about when it is appropriate to choose one over the other. So, if you are considering long-term care for a loved one, read on! You will have a better understanding of your options after reading this helpful guide. 


What Is The Main Difference Between Nursing Homes And Skilled Nursing Facilities?

The main difference between nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities is the type of care that they provide. Nursing homes are more permanent residences for people who need mobility assistance. People living in a nursing home also need help with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also require skilled nursing care, but this is not the main focus of nursing homes. Residents in nursing homes should be able to access medical services outside of the facility if necessary.

Skilled nursing facilities provide more intense short-term care for people who require skilled nursing care and rehabilitative therapies. These people typically need skilled nursing care for a short period of time after they’ve been discharged from the hospital. Skilled nursing facilities are also sometimes referred to as skilled nursing units, transitional care units, or rehabilitation centers.

More Details On Nursing Homes

As mentioned above, nursing homes provide long-term care for people who need mobility assistance and those who need help with ADLs. Nursing homes can be public, private, for-profit, or non-profit. They are regulated by state and federal governments to ensure that they meet certain standards of care.

Nursing homes typically have a nursing staff that is available 24 hours a day to look after residents. It is rare to see doctors and healthcare specialists in a nursing home because most of the care that residents need is non-medical.

People who need to live in a nursing home are those who cannot take care of themselves properly and need help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating just like in assisted living facilities. However, patients in nursing homes need to live there for a long time or permanently unlike patients in assisted living facilities.

What Can I Expect In A Nursing Home?

Below are the things that you can expect in a nursing home:

  • Very limited medical care
  • Mobility assistance
  • Privacy (However, a resident can share a room with a spouse if they wish to)
  • Housekeeping
  • Entertainment and various activities to promote socialization
  • Meals

More Details On Skilled Nursing Facilities

Skilled nursing facilities are special facilities for people in need of skilled care, usually after a hospital stay. The patients in a skilled nursing facility do not have to live there permanently. This is because the main goal of skilled nursing facilities is to help people recover from an illness or injury and then be able to return home.

For example, someone who has had a stroke might go to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation. Once they have recovered from their stroke, they can then return home.

Skilled nursing facilities provide skilled nursing care and rehabilitation services. Skilled nursing care is provided by registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nurse assistants. The rehabilitation services are provided by physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists.

What Can I Expect In A Skilled Nursing Facility?

Below are the things you can expect in a skilled nursing facility:

  • Registered nurses on staff 24 hours a day
  • A wide range of skilled nursing and rehabilitation services
  • A variety of activities and social events
  • A comfortable, home-like environment
  • Extensive medical care
  • Extensive mobility assistance
  • Housekeeping
  • Meals

Which Facility Is Right For My Loved One?

To decide which is the right facility for your loved one, you will need to consider the level of care they need. If they require rehabilitative services to help them recover from an injury or illness, skilled nursing is the better option. If they need long-term assistance with activities of daily living and mobility, a nursing home is the better choice.

However, it would be best to consult with a healthcare professional to get their opinion on which facility would better suit your loved one’s needs. This way, you can guarantee that you will be making the right choice for their care.


Skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes are not the same. They each provide different levels of care, with skilled nursing being more rehabilitative and nursing homes providing long-term care. To sum it up, nursing homes provide daily non-medical care whereas skilled nursing facilities provide daily medical care as needed.

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure you are making the best decision for your loved one’s care. Make sure to consider your loved one’s individual needs when making a decision about skilled nursing versus a nursing home. With the right level of care, your loved one can live a happy and healthy life.