Short-term nursing home care is often covered by Medicare Part A. But this coverage kicks in only if she needs skilled nursing care as prescribed by a doctor, in a Medicare-certified skilled nursing facility, following a stay in the hospital of at least three days. If she meets these coverage rules, Medicare will pay the full cost of her stay for up to 20 days. For up to the next 80 days, your mother would be responsible for $128 per day, with Medicare paying the rest.
If your mother's short-term nursing home stay isn't covered by Medicare, it might be covered by Medicaid if she has low income and few assets other than her home. If she's already covered by Medicaid, it will pay the full cost of short-term nursing home care, even if your mother has not had a prior hospital stay. If your mother's not currently receiving Medicaid but she has low income and few assets other than her house, the cost of her needed nursing home care might help her qualify, depending on the Medicaid rules in the state where she lives. You can find the specific Medicaid requirements for your mother's state online at the Medicaid/Medicare section of GovBenefits.gov. If she might qualify, application for Medicaid is made at your local county social services office.
If your mother's nursing home stay would not be covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance, a nursing home might want proof of her ability to pay before accepting her as a patient. That's because once she becomes a patient there, the nursing home cannot put her out again if her stay unexpectedly changes from short-term to long-term. So, if your mother must pay for the care herself but doesn't have large enough cash or other assets to prove to the nursing home her ability to pay, they might require her to sign a lien on her house as a back-up guaranty of payment.