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How to Find Quality Skilled Nursing for Your Loved One

How to Find Quality Skilled Nursing for Your Loved One

When your loved one requires more assistance than assisted living can provide, what comes next? This is when skilled nursing can provide a high quality of life with the support your loved one needs, says Charles Benjamin, Executive Director of Harrogate, a premier active senior living community just minutes from Toms River and the Monmouth/Ocean County beaches.


“People often use the words nursing home and assisted living and skilled nursing interchangeably, but there are actually distinct differences between those terms,” he says. “Skilled nursing is a service that is provided in a community and is a type of care that can only be performed by trained, licensed nurses. Skilled nursing can take place in a separate facility, or it can take place on-site at a community like Harrogate.”


Skilled nursing, Charles says, includes nursing care, assistance with everyday activities, 24-hour supervision, rehabilitation services if needed, three meals a day as well as a variety of other amenities like you would find at a senior living community. The amount of time that someone spends in skilled nursing can range greatly depending on their level of care needs.


“Some individuals only need to stay in skilled nursing for a short time following a surgery, accident or illness,” he says. “Others may need to live in skilled nursing permanently because their physical or mental health is such that they need constant, trained supervision.”


Skilled nursing services are regulated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In order to be certified, communities that provide skilled nursing must meet specific, strict criteria and are subject to inspections on a regular basis.


What Care Does Skilled Nursing Offer?

Skilled nursing communities offer a wide range of services and medical care, including:

  • Physical therapy to help an individual recover from illness, surgery or hospitalization
  • Occupational therapy, which includes assistance for adapting to everyday environments, including getting dressed, coordination exercises and memory training
  • Speech therapy which helps address communication issues and swallowing dysfunctions, which can be common in older adults
  • Other services including but not limited to wound care, intravenous (IV) therapy, injections and monitoring of vital signs and medical equipment


How Do I Find a Skilled Nursing Facility for My Loved One?

A good place to start is’s Nursing Home Compare tool. This allows you to compare skilled nursing facilities in your desired area based on their quality of care, what special services they offer and their health and safety inspection results. Other great resources include friends and family, as well as online research through third-party sites. You may also wish to connect with social workers or your local Area Agency on Aging for more information.


Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a handful of facilities, we suggest touring them in person to get a feel for the facility. Here are some questions to ask in order to help determine whether a community is right for your loved one:

  1. What are the inspection ratings for your skilled nursing facility, or what is your star rating? The highest quality care facilities receive 5-star ratings, while below average quality facilities will receive 1-star ratings.
  2. What activities are available for residents? The best care communities focus on whole body wellness instead of just physical health. Activities provide emotional and mental stimulation for residents, which results in better overall health. Look for communities that provide a wide range of activities that focus on the entire person instead of just a few aspects.
  3. Is there an RN available 24/7? Having a registered nurse on site at all times is essential for providing the very best possible care for residents. An RN should be available to respond to any unexpected needs and provide immediate medical care.
  4. How do you determine care plans? One-size-fits-all is never the correct approach for skilled nursing. Pay attention to how health assessments are done and how personalized care plans are crafted. Be sure to ask about family involvement, as well as how often care plans are revisited to ensure that the resident is receiving the very best possible care as their needs change.


Besides asking questions, you’ll want to use your senses and observation skills to get a feel for what life is really like in the community. Here are some things to pay attention to when you’re on a tour:

  • What are your first impressions of the community? Is it clean and well-kept, or is it run-down and looks like it needs to be updated? How does it smell? Is it cheerful and brightly lit?
  • How does the staff interact with residents? Are they smiling and greeting residents by name? Do they look tired or worn out?
  • How do the residents appear? Are they participating in activities, mingling or otherwise having an enjoyable time? Do they look well cared for?
  • Is it a place you can imagine your loved one enjoying?


5-Star Skilled Nursing in Lakewood, New Jersey

As a Life Care Community, Harrogate provides residents with access to long-term and short-term health-care services on our campus – meaning our residents never have to leave their “home” to receive the care they require. Our skilled nursing center offers both private- and semi-private suites, as well as comfortable common spaces where residents can mingle with one another as well as staff. Personalized care plans are developed in tandem with residents’ needs and preferences.


“Our community has a reputation for delivering high-quality skilled nursing in a homelike environment,” says Charles. “Our team of specialists is trained to handle every aspect of skilled nursing, from comprehensive wound care to individualized programs for specific health needs. We’re among a select few retirement communities in Ocean County, New Jersey, to earn a 5-Star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.”

This Is What “Worry Less, Live More” Looks Like

Located near Toms River, New Jersey, Harrogate offers a worry-free, fulfilling and experience-rich life. Here, you’ll be free of the hassles of homeownership while having access to all of the best that life has to offer. From opportunities to engage, enrich and challenge yourself to the peace of mind of future care, socialization and so much more.

No matter what your needs may be, we can meet them, ensuring you are worry-free for years to come. With our Life Care, you can enjoy independent living, home health care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation for one entrance fee and a monthly fee that covers everything our lifestyle has to offer.

Worry Less and Live More at Harrogate!

Call for information at ​866-606-0178 or visit our website.