Skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes are often mistaken as the same thing, but that’s not necessarily accurate.

According to AARP Medicare Plans, the difference between a skilled nursing facility and a nursing home comes down to the type of care each provides.

Care at skilled nursing facilities is provided by trained registered nurses in a medical setting under the supervision of a doctor. AARP Medicare Plans describes this level of care as on par with the level of care patients would receive in a hospital.

Nursing home care is provided largely by licensed practical nurses and nurse aids under the supervision of a registered nurse. Nursing home care tends to focus on custodial care, which emphasizes helping residents perform daily tasks such as dressing, bathing and eating.

Some facilities may offer both skilled nursing care as well as nursing home care. They may separate patients who need such types of care by designating certain floors or sections of the facility for patients with different needs.

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