As our loved ones begin to age and develop medical issues that require skilled assistance, all the options for handling their specialized care must be considered. These potential options include remaining at home, joining a retirement community, moving to a senior apartment, or staying in a skilled nursing facility. Each type of living arrangement will have pros and cons, so it is important to thoroughly explore your choices to ensure your loved one is cared for properly.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

One resource often underutilized is skilled nursing facilities. These institutions offer the highest level of medical care to be found outside of a hospital and have a staff full of medical professionals to ensure adequate care. These facilities support high levels of medical care and often house patients for short-term care following an illness or injury. Once the patient has recovered, they are moved back home, into a nursing home, or another location with fewer medical care capabilities. The ultimate goal is for your loved one to be in a location with the fewest restrictions possible to meet their needs.

Skilled Nursing Facility Pros

There are many benefits to skilled nursing facilities, including:

  • Excellent Medical SupportThe medical staff at skilled nursing facilities are available 24/7 to provide high-quality care to your loved one. This support is critical for patients recovering from a serious health condition or debilitating injury, as they will require care above the skills and knowledge of the average caregiver. These facilities were designed to provide medical care like what the residents could receive in a hospital.
  • Successful Transition EnvironmentSkilled nursing facilities act as a bridge between the hospital and home after an illness or injury. Hospitals often focus on urgent care and are not typically equipped to support recovery; therefore, patients may be discharged from the hospital without being medically ready to return to their lives. Skilled nursing facilities provide aid during this transition period, allowing patients to get stronger and more able to support themselves before moving on to a lower level of care.
  • Caregiver Peace of MindHelping a loved one recover from an illness or injury can weigh heavily on a person, especially if your day-to-day life does not allow much extra time for significant medical care or you do not have the skills required to handle their medical issues. A skilled nursing facility can help caregivers feel more secure in the level of care their loved one will receive while simultaneously giving the caregiver a break.

Skilled Nursing Facility Cons

Though skilled nursing facilities do have many benefits, some drawbacks must be considered when evaluating a loved one’s options.

  • Timelines Can Be ConfusingBecause these facilities are meant to be transition phases between hospitals and other lower-tier medical care, it may not be clear exactly how long your loved one will need to stay in the facility or the specific care they can expect to receive. The length of stay can be affected by finances, your loved one’s needs, the specific facility, and many other factors. This uncertainty can make it difficult to plan for your next steps.
  • Environment ChangeIt can be difficult for your loved one to progress and heal from their condition or injury in a new environment. They may not transition well to the restrictions placed by the facility, such as restriction of movement without assistance or supervision. The lack of family or friends can also take a toll on patients in a skilled nursing facility, potentially slowing their recovery and harming their emotional state.


Q: How Do You Know If A Care Facility Is High-Quality?

A: You will put many hours into searching through care options for your loved one. Positive reviews and easy-to-navigate websites are early indicators of quality. Another indicator that your loved one will have a good experience at the facility is full transparency, including the opportunity to visit the facility and ask any questions you need answering to assuage your concerns. Speaking with current residents and their loved ones may also provide a clear picture of the atmosphere and quality of the facility.

Q: What’s The Difference Between Skilled Care and Assisted Living?

A: The difference between skilled care and assisted living is the level of support and duration of care provided to residents. Skilled care is typically shorter in duration than assisted living—assisted living may well be a situation that lasts for the remainder of your loved one’s life. Skilled care facilities will provide specialized medical care for their patients until they are recovered enough to transition to assisted living or other care with lower medical requirements.

Q: What Is the Ideal Age To Move to Assisted Living?

A: There is no set age at which a person should move to an assisted living facility. Each person’s situation is complex and nuanced, meaning their circumstances should be evaluated individually. It may be time to consider assisted living when it is no longer safe for your loved one to live alone, they struggle with daily tasks, or their family is unable to provide the care they need. Your loved one’s medical team may also make suggestions.

Q: Is a Skilled Nursing Facility Like a Hospital?

A: Skilled nursing facilities provide high-level medical care on a 24/7 basis; however, there are important differences between these facilities and hospitals. Nursing facilities do provide medical, nursing, and rehabilitative services as needed, but they also attempt to be homes for residents. Visiting hours may be less restrictive, meals may be provided in a dining hall setting, and activities to stimulate residents may be planned to help residents heal and feel more comfortable in their environment.

Determining Your Loved One’s Needs

It can feel impossible to evaluate and choose between all the options available to your loved one as they age and begin to require more assistance. Rocky Mountain Assisted Living can help you determine what level of care in Denver would be most beneficial for your loved one; contact us today to have this important conversation and create a plan for your loved one.