Consultant Hours
  • Mon - Fri: 5:00 AM - 9:00 PM PT
  • Sat - Sun: 5:00 AM - 5:30 PM PT

Skilled Nursing Industry Terms

Skilled nursing care is health care that can only be provided by licensed nurses, nurse assistants, and doctors, usually in a skilled nursing facility (SNF), also called a nursing home, old age home, or retirement home. Here are some other terms you’ll want to be familiar with during your search for the right skilled nursing facility for yourself or a family member.

Activities coordinator

A staff member who chooses, schedules, and oversees social and leisure activities for nursing home residents. Also sometimes called a recreation therapist.

The everyday activities of self-care one performs to maintain one’s health and wellbeing. Basic ADLs include eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, personal hygiene, and getting in and out of bed.

Activities of daily living (ADLs)


The person who supervises a skilled nursing facility’s day-to-day business and its clinical care. Administrators typically have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in their field and a state license.


A medical evaluation of a person’s overall health and daily care needs, based on the individual’s medical conditions, mental state, and ability to perform activities of daily living.

Benefit period

A measure of the time a patient spends in the hospital or at a skilled nursing facility, used by Medicare Part A to determine the amount a covered patient pays for that care.

Care plan

An individual patient’s regimen of medical care, determined by the patient’s doctor and nurses.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

A trained and licensed worker with basic nursing skills. A CNA provides direct patient care under supervision by a registered nurse (RN).


An amount of money a patient is required to contribute toward covered skilled nursing services after meeting his or her deductible. Coinsurance is usually a percentage of a total amount approved by Medicare or a private insurance provider.


Areas in which a skilled nursing facility doesn’t meet state standards, as determined by a nursing home inspection.

Dietary counseling

Assessment of a patient’s nutritional status and recommendations based on the patient’s health needs, administered by a registered dietitian or registered nutritionist.

Director of Nursing

The registered nurse who oversees patient care in a skilled nursing facility.

Hospital insurance

Coverage of qualified hospital and skilled nursing facility care by Medicare Part A or private insurance provider.

Medicare Part A

Federal Medicare program coverage of hospital, skilled nursing facility, nursing home, and hospice care, along with qualifying home health services. Part A coverage details vary by state.

Occupational and physical therapy

A regimen overseen by a licensed therapist to help patients regain their ability to perform activities of daily living after an illness or injury.

Preventive care

Regular care designed to screen for health issues and prevent illness, such as vaccinations, cancer screenings, and checkups.

Registered Nurse (RN)

A graduate of an accredited college nursing program who has passed state licensing exams.

Semi-private room

A room that houses two or more residents or patients in a skilled nursing facility.

Speech-language pathology services

Diagnosis and treatment of issues related to speaking, swallowing, and related activities, provided by a licensed speech pathologist.

Staff doctor

A licensed physician who visits patients and maintains a regular on-site schedule. Not all skilled nursing facilities have a staff doctor.

Volunteer program

A program overseen by the activities coordinator that brings members of the community into the facility for social interaction and recreational activities for residents.

Now that you understand the commonly used terms, return to and read the descriptions and reviews of nursing homes near you.