What Is Skilled Nursing? 

elderly woman in wheelchair speaking to female nurse in blue scrubs who is smiling.

Skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes share many similarities. In fact, some facilities operate as both, with a different level or section of the building operating as a skilled nursing facility and the other operating as a nursing home. Then, there is the option of assisted living facilities. This type of facility also offers its own unique services that differ from those of nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities. 

On the surface, these facilities may operate very similarly. They are, in fact, different types of facilities, with each offering unique services. If you have a loved one who needs residential care, it’s important to understand the difference between these three facilities so you can make the right decision for their care needs. Today, we’ll take a closer look at each of these facilities, the services they offer, the type of residents they serve, and more. 

Contact the team at Monument Health Group to learn more about our skilled nursing facility. 

What Is Skilled Nursing? 

Skilled nursing refers to the type of medical care only a trained registered nurse can provide. This may include medical care including but not limited to: 

  • Administering shots
  • Drawing blood
  • Administering catheters
  • Administering medication
  • Advocating for patients 
  • Monitoring vital signs
  • Managing emergency medical situations and other key skills 

If your loved one needs this type of care in a long-term rehabilitation center outside of the hospital setting, they can benefit from the services of a skilled nursing facility.

What Is a Skilled Nursing Facility?

The main difference between a skilled nursing facility and a nursing home is the level of care provided and who is providing that care. In skilled nursing facilities, skilled nursing care is provided by trained registered nurses. These nurses work under the supervision of a doctor. This is the same type of medical care you receive in a hospital.

In nursing homes, the kind of care residents need is different. As such, the care provided is not through skilled nurses but through licensed practical nurses (LPNs). These nurses offer more basic level nursing care, including:

  • Helping patients get dressed
  • Feeding patients 
  • Checking vital signs
  • Ensuring the resident is comfortable

Because of the level of care that skilled nursing facilities provide, they can work with a range of individuals, not just the elderly. Often, it’s individuals who are transitioning out of a hospital setting into a more residential setting. 

In addition to providing hospital-level care, skilled nursing facilities also offer rehabilitation services from trained, licensed therapists. Common services you’ll find at a skilled nursing facility include speech, occupational, and physical therapy. 

Who Are the Residents at a Skilled Nursing Facility?

Because care is provided by trained registered nurses under the supervision of a doctor, there are a variety of individuals who may benefit from the care of a skilled nursing facility. Often, these are individuals who need long-term care for medical issues, including: 

  • Chronic or long-term illnesses
  • Recovery from an injury 
  • Recovery from surgery

A skilled nursing facility generally operates as a transitional facility where recovering individuals can go after exiting a hospital. They will receive similar levels of care as a hospital but in an environment that looks and feels more residential than the clinical setting of a hospital. 

What Is the Difference Between Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living?

Assisted living facilities are geared more toward seniors looking for long-term care in a supportive environment but may need help with daily tasks. 

Some of the services offered at an assisted living facility may include helping residents complete more complex self-care tasks, such as assisting with bathing, getting dressed, and grooming. 

These facilities also provide services that residents may no longer be able to perform independently or need help completing independently. These include housekeeping, preparing meals, laundry, transportation services, and other daily living tasks. 

Unlike skilled medical facilities, assisted living facilities do not provide as intensive medical care as you would find in a skilled nursing facility.  

What Are the Qualifications of the Staff at a Skilled Nursing Facility?

Because of the level of care provided at skilled nursing facilities, staff must meet a number of qualifications to work with the patient in the facility. The role they work in will also determine their qualifications. For example, skilled nursing facilities may have certified nursing assistants (CNAs) on hand. These CNAs must meet different requirements than the skilled nurses on the staff.

Generally, to be a skilled nurse in a skilled nursing facility, you must meet a variation of the following requirements: 

  • Graduate from an approved nursing program — while most nursing programs are offered through four-year universities, some programs may be offered through an associate’s degree in nursing
  • Complete a minimum number of hours of direct care with clients 
  • Apply to become a registered nurse in your state 
  • Complete a background check 
  • Prepare and register for the associated tests 
  • Stay up to date with education requirements and recertification

How Do I Transition My Loved One to a Skilled Nursing Facility?

If you feel your loved one’s medical needs are not being met in their current facility, or if you want to help them transfer to a skilled nursing facility from their current living arrangement — whether it’s their home or a hospital setting — it’s important to know what to do and who to speak with. 

Generally, you’ll need a doctor to confirm they could benefit from the services offered at a skilled nursing facility. This is often done through a doctor’s note. Because most people who transfer to a skilled nursing facility do so from a hospital facility, the first step usually is easy. 

Next, you’ll need to complete any additional required documents. This may include documentation of vaccines, a physical exam, and any other documentation your doctor may require.

Then, you’ll need to find a suitable facility. All facilities are unique, with each offering its own generalized services or care. If your loved one has unique needs, look for a facility that specializes in those needs. Speak with all facilities to get a sense of the care they offer, and whether your loved one would benefit from being there.

Related: Skilled Nursing Facility FAQs

What Is the Best Skilled Nursing Facility Near Salt Lake City?

If you are looking for skilled nursing Salt Lake City facilities, you’ll find many. However, the best type of facility is one that can provide comprehensive, compassionate, and specialized medical care to your loved one. 

At Monument Health Group, we understand the importance of providing comprehensive and compassionate care. Our facilities specialize in skilled nursing, orthopedic rehabilitation, wound and pain management, and intravenous therapy. Get in touch to learn more about the quality care provided in our facilities and in our Skilled nursing facility in Bountiful, Utah. 

Contact Monument Health Group in Bountiful today.


How to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse. (2023). 

Utah Nursing Schools and Programs. (2024). 

What is a CNA? (2024).