If your senior loved one is in a nursing home, the care that he or she receives may or may not be characterized as skilled nursing care. Examples of non-skilled nursing care including the administration of most oral medications and helping the individual with his or her activities of daily living such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and eating. Here are some examples of skilled nursing care that your loved one may receive while in a long-term care facility.
Surgical wound care is considered skilled nursing care, as is decubitus ulcer care. Also known as bedsores or pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers are staged. A minor area of redness on the skin may be categorized as a Stage I ulcer, while deep tissue wounds affecting the ligaments and bones are categorized as Stage IV.
A Stage IV decubitus ulcer may require skin grafts or other surgeries and may develop severe infections that may be resistant to antibiotic therapy. A Stage IV pressure ulcer may also lead to a disabling bone infection known as osteomyelitis, and in some cases, may lead to amputation if the ulcer is on a limb. If your loved one has a complex wound, he or she may require more frequent monitoring, dressing changes, and wound cultures to determine which type of microorganism is present in an infected wound.
Intravenous therapy is also considered a skilled nursing treatment. To initiative intravenous therapy, the nurse needs to access the appropriate vein and insert the needle properly so that the medication or fluids flow into the vein instead of the subcutaneous tissue.
In addition to this, different medications and fluids may need to be added throughout the day. The access site also needs to be monitored for signs of infection such as redness, inflammation, drainage, and an increase in warmth.
A dressing may also be used to cover the access area. After the intravenous treatment has been discontinued by the physician, the nurse will need to remove the needle and then put a dressing or bandage over the area.
If your loved one is in a nursing home and has decubitus ulcers or surgical wounds or is receiving intravenous therapy, talk to the nursing staff if you have questions regarding his or her treatment or therapies. If needed, you may be referred to your loved one's physician, who can address your concerns about the individual's prognosis and medical care plan.