A nursing home or skilled nursing facility (SNF), also known as a rest home, is a type of care of residents: it is a place of residence for people who require constant nursing care and have significant deficiencies with activities of daily living. Residents include the elderly and younger adults with physical disabilities. Adults 18 or older can stay in a skilled nursing facility to receive physical, occupational, and other rehabilitative therapies following an accident or illness.
In the US, nursing homes are required to have a licensed nurse on duty 24 hours a day, and during at least one shift each day, one of those nurses must be a Registered Nurse. In April, 2005 there were a total of 16,094 nursing homes in the United States, down from 16,516 in December, 2002. Some states have nursing homes that are called nursing facilities (NF), which do not have beds certified for Medicare patients, but can only treat patients whose payments source is Private Payment, Private Insurance or Medicaid.
Difference between an SNF and a nursing home
An SNF is an institution or a distinct part of an institution, which is primarily engaged in providing skilled nursing care or rehabilitation services that will enable rehabilitation of injured, disabled, or sick persons. Hospitals often have arrangements with SNFs to provide follow up care after a patient no longer needs the level of services that an acute hospital provides. The patient is sent to an SNF to get skilled care / rehabilitation until they are able to return home (or are at a state where further improvement is no longer possible).
A nursing home, sometimes referred to as an Intermediate Care Facility or ICF, is residence facility that provides a room, meals, and help with activities of daily living and recreation. Generally, nursing home residents have physical or cognitive problems that keep them from living on their own. They usually require daily assistance.
In general, SNF care is covered under health insurance plans and Medicare, where nursing home care is not. Many patients who live in nursing homes often exhaust their personal finances at some point, and in the U.S.A., once that happens, they are eligible for Medicaid (care for the poor) which will pay the nursing home for the care they provide. However, numerous studies have confirmed that the amount Medicaid pays does not cover the cost they face in providing that care.