What is a Nursing Facility?
A skilled nursing facility (SNF)
This is a special facility or part of a hospital that provides medically necessary professional services from nurses, physical and occupational therapists, speech pathologists and audiologists. Skilled nursing facilities provide round-the-clock assistance with healthcare and activities of daily living. Skilled nursing facilities are used for short-term rehabilitative stays after an individual is released from a hospital.
A Hospital-based SNF
This is in a hospital and provides skilled nursing care and rehabilitation services for people who have been discharged from that hospital but who are unable to return home right away.”1
With more than 1,200 free-standing nursing facilities in Texas alone, the typical nursing facility is not physically designed to effectively support social distancing measures, while at the same time housing numerous residents who might require quarantine measures including isolation. The limitations of the physical environment mean many of the protective measures required to limit potential exposure and spread must be accomplished by staff who are already working under extreme conditions.
Nursing facilities in more densely populated locations are likely to experience higher risk for exposure among staff and visitors. As a result, facilities in metropolitan and urban areas have a higher risk of infection and face more challenges controlling spread when there is infection. They are also more likely to face staffing shortages because of competitive job markets. Nursing facilities in more rural locations have less health care system support, might not have local health authorities, and have smaller staffing pools making it harder to cover shortages that result from suspected exposure. Facilities in rural areas might also be more challenged to find equipment necessary to care for COVID-19 positive residents.
- 1 Texas Health and Human Services Commission Long-term Care Facilities (LTCFs): https://www.hhs.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/doing-business-with-hhs/provider-portal/long-term-care/nf/covid-response-nursing-facilities.pdf