What Are the Signs Your Loved One Needs Skilled Nursing?

Making decisions about the care of a loved one can be a significant responsibility. Especially as our loved ones age, their health needs can become more complex, and it might only sometimes be clear when to seek additional help. 

Knowing what signs to look for that indicate your loved one may need skilled nursing can help you make an informed decision in a timely manner. In this article, we’ll explore the indicators that suggest it’s time to consider skilled nursing services for your family member.

Understanding Skilled Nursing Services

Skilled nursing services encompass a range of healthcare services that are provided by licensed professionals, including nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists. 

These services can be delivered in a variety of settings, from dedicated facilities to the comfort of one’s home. Skilled nursing is primarily for those who need short-term care following a hospital stay or for those requiring long-term care due to chronic illnesses or disabilities.

Signs Your Loved One Needs Skilled Nursing

Changes in Physical Health

One of the most observable signs that someone may need advanced care is a decline in their physical health. The onset of chronic conditions or the worsening of existing ones can necessitate regular medical attention.

  • Increased frequency of falls

  • Noticeable weight loss or gain without a clear cause

  • Difficulty managing chronic health conditions like diabetes or heart disease

  • Wounds that don’t heal or frequent infections

  • Loss of mobility or difficulty with daily tasks

These symptoms can all suggest that a higher level of care, one that skilled nursing services provide, may be required to maintain a safe and healthy lifestyle.

Declining Mental Health

Mental health is just as critical as physical health, and changes in cognitive functions could be a signal that skilled care is needed. Watch for these signs:

  • Confusion or difficulty with memory

  • Changes in personality or sudden mood swings

  • Increased signs of depression or anxiety

  • Difficulty managing finances or medications

Navigating Complex Medical Needs

As health issues become more complex, they often require the expertise of healthcare professionals who can deliver the necessary level of care. Here are situations that typically call for the expertise of skilled nursing professionals:

  • Managing multiple prescription medications

  • Administering injections or IV medications

  • Performing medical treatments like dialysis or wound care

  • Monitoring vital signs for critical conditions

  • Requiring frequent medical assessments

When Personal Care Becomes Too Much

Activities of daily living (ADLs), such as dressing, bathing, and eating, are essential for a dignified life. But when these basic needs become difficult for your loved one to handle alone, it’s a strong indication that more help is needed.

  • Struggles with bathing, grooming or toileting

  • Difficulty with dressing or maintaining personal hygiene

  • Inability to prepare meals or ensure proper nutrition

Increased Isolation or Loneliness

Social isolation and loneliness can lead to severe health issues and decreased quality of life. Notice that your family member is pulling away from social activities they used to enjoy or expressing feelings of loneliness. It might be time to seek out skilled nursing care, where social engagement is part of the care plan.

What Does a Skilled Nurse Provide

Medical Care and Monitoring

A skilled nurse is equipped to handle various medical duties, like monitoring blood pressure, managing chronic conditions, and adjusting treatment plans under the direction of a physician.

Assistance with Medications

They assist with medication administration, ensuring the proper dosage is taken at the correct times to keep health conditions under control.

Rehabilitation Services

If your loved one is recovering from an illness or injury, skilled nurses offer required rehabilitation services that might include physical, occupational, or speech therapy.

Finding the Right Home Health Care Provider

Once the need for skilled nursing is determined, the next step is to find a suitable home health care provider like Karma Care. The location of the provider is paramount to ensuring that your loved one gets the consistent care they deserve. While there are many providers, it’s crucial to choose one that matches your loved one’s individual needs and personal preferences.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Provider

When planning for home health care, ask providers about their:

  • Licensing and certifications

  • Experience with specific health conditions

  • Approach to creating personalized care plans

  • Availability of staff for emergencies

  • Policies on family involvement in care decisions

Ensuring that your loved one receives high-quality care in line with their personal and medical needs is of the utmost importance.

Final Thoughts

Aging and health deterioration are challenging realities, but recognizing the signs that indicate the need for skilled nursing can make a profound difference in your loved one’s life. Whether it’s handling personal care, managing complex health conditions, or simply providing companionship, skilled nurses play a vital role in supporting the well-being of our family members when they are most vulnerable. 

Remember, the right time to seek help is when you first notice these signs; early intervention can lead to better health outcomes and a higher quality of life for your loved ones.