What’s the Difference Between Skilled Nursing Homes & Assisted Living?

Posted on January 1, 2020

For many, the terms “nursing home” and “assisted living community” are interchangeable, but you may be surprised to learn that the level of care they offer is very different.

While The Pavilion Senior Living proudly offers both assisted living and skilled nursing, we want to ensure you and your family understand the difference when choosing a senior living community.

What is a Skilled Nursing Home?

A skilled nursing community, or nursing home, is a specialized section of a community that provides skilled medical care services from licensed nurses, speech pathologists, audiologists, and physical and occupational therapists. 

Skilled nursing homes offer 24/7 assistance with health care and activities of daily living. Services provided at skilled nursing homes can vary, but at The Pavilion Senior Living in Lebanon, Tennessee, and Jane Lew, West Virginia, our services include:

  • 24-hour Emergency Care
  • Medication Monitoring and Administration
  • Regular Wellness Checks
  • On-Site Therapies
  • Specialized Care
  • Ambulation
  • Wellness Activities

The Pavilion Senior Living’s on-site therapies include speech, occupational, and physical therapy. Skilled nursing homes provide what is known as subacute care, meaning the services are less intense than traditional rehabilitation, which provides acute care services. 

For example, a resident at a skilled nursing home may only meet with the appropriate healthcare professional three times a week for an hour or so at a time (subacute) while rehabilitation services are typically daily for up to three hours a day (acute). A person will sometimes move from rehab to a skilled nursing community once they no longer require the more intensive acute care but are still not ready to return home.

While assisted living communities also offer assistance and support, they are not as focused on medical care services. Assisted living is perfect for seniors who want to maintain their independence but need assistance with the activities of daily life, such as bathing, dressing, or medication management. If your parent or loved one requires care that needs to be administered by a licensed professional i.e., care to an injury or wound, skilled nursing would be the best option for him/her.

Skilled Nursing Homes Quality Trends

There was a study conducted by the National Research Corporation regarding the quality of nursing homes from the perspective of nearly half a million employees, families, and residents. What the surveys revealed were that residents of these nursing homes were mostly highly satisfied, with 86% of short-term residents saying they would recommend the services. The survey asked residents to rank satisfaction from things like

  • Treatment by staff (95%)
  • Respectfulness of the staff (93%)
  • And, RN/LVN/LPN care (91%)

These surveys help to paint a picture of how skilled nursing homes operate, and the trends show that the services and experiences continue to improve as time goes on. The survey conducted in 2006 (when the surveys began) showed a rating of 86%, while the more recent studies showed an 88% rating. 

The AHCA Quality Initiative is a national effort to further improve the quality of care in America’s long-term and post-acute care centers to an overall 90% satisfaction rating by March 2021. Of the communities surveyed, 56% of care centers have already achieved the goal set out.

When is it Time For Skilled Nursing?

It’s a bit easier to understand the time for rehabilitation services since the services are typically necessary after a hospital visit, major incident, or surgery. Skilled nursing homes are best utilized by someone who needs additional assistance to get back to 100% health after a major health event occurs.

The Pavilion Senior Living’s skilled nursing services provide our residents with 24/7 care and assistance. If your loved one recently experienced a serious medical event in their life and they need help recuperating, they can utilize our services to get back on track to living an independent life again! 

For further information regarding our skilled nursing services or The Pavilion Senior Living, you can contact one of our experts and schedule a red carpet tour for any of our communities!


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