Group Homes vs. Skilled Nursing Homes:  The Difference

Group homes and skilled nursing homes are both residential care facilities that provide a range of services to individuals who require assistance with activities of daily living. However, there are some key differences between these types of facilities:

  1. Level of care: Group homes typically provide a lower level of care than skilled nursing homes, with a focus on supervision, behavioral management and adjustment into the community for those with mental illness, developmental disability, some level of physical handicap and traumatic brain injury. Group homes are designed for individuals who are generally able to care for themselves on some level, but may require some assistance with tasks such as medication management, meal preparation, personal care, safety management, disease prevention and housekeeping. Skilled nursing homes, on the other hand, provide more comprehensive medical care and are staffed by licensed nurses and other healthcare professionals. These facilities are certified by State Medicaid Departments as well as the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, (CMS) operating under the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.  Typically group homes do require licensure.
  2. Staffing: Group homes may be staffed by para-professional personnel, such as residential aides or attendant care providers, while skilled nursing homes are required to always have a licensed nurse on duty. Skilled nursing homes also have physicians on staff or on call to provide medical care as needed. These would be auxiliary or ala carte items for the group home environment.
  3. Cost: Group homes are generally less expensive than skilled nursing homes in terms of the daily per diem, as they provide fewer medical services and typically have a lower staff-to-resident ratio. However, group homes can add specialized servic4es and bill for these separately.
  4. Size: Group homes are typically smaller than skilled nursing homes, with fewer residents and a more home-like environment. Skilled nursing homes may be much larger, with dozens or even hundreds of residents.
  5. Admission criteria: Group homes may have more flexible admission criteria than skilled nursing homes. (They typically bill under T-2033 for the daily services in general.) For example, some group homes may accept individuals with certain types of disabilities or mental health conditions, while skilled nursing homes may only admit individuals who require skilled nursing care.

    Overall, the main difference between group homes and skilled nursing homes is the level of care provided and what is government mandated for a specific business model and what is not. Group homes are designed for individuals who are generally able to participate in the design of their care, and who require some assistance, while skilled nursing homes provide more comprehensive medical care for individuals with complex medical needs.
Another Blog Post by Direct Care Training & Resource Center, Inc. Photos used are designed to complement the written content. They do not imply a relationship with or endorsement by any individual nor entity and may belong to their respective copyright holders.
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