Requiring a feeding tube is considered skilled nursing care. Skilled nursing refers to a specialized form of health care that provides round-the-clock medical care and assistance to patients with complex health conditions or chronic illnesses. 

Skilled nursing is typically administered by licensed nursing professionals, such as registered nurses, who are trained to perform advanced medical procedures and provide care for patients who require ongoing medical attention. Skilled nursing homes may also offer various other services to help with patient recovery, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. 

What Services Does Skilled Nursing Provide

Skilled nursing aims to help patients regain their independence and improve their overall quality of life while managing their health conditions. Depending on the patient, services and care can include:

  • Wound care
  • IV therapy
  • Catheter care
  • Vital sign monitoring 
  • Tube feedings
  • Injections
  • Nutrition therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Dispensing medications
  • Diabetic management
  • Post-operative care

Does Medicare Pay for Skilled Nursing

Medicare will pay for 100 days in a skilled nursing facility following discharge from the hospital. For the first 20 days, Medicare will cover all costs, but for days 30-100 you will be responsible for a daily copayment. You must also meet the following requirements in order for Medicare to pay for your skilled nursing care:

  • You must be recovering from an illness or injury that requires a hospital stay, such as a stroke, heart attack, fall, surgery or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Your initial hospital stay must be longer than 3 days
  • Your doctor must order ongoing care upon discharge

The items and services in a skilled nursing facility covered by Medicare include:

  • A semi-private room, unless a private room is medically necessary
  • Meals and dietary services
  • Transportation for outside medical services
  • Skilled nursing care
  • Medical supplies
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy, if needed
  • Occupational therapy, if needed
  • Speech therapy, if needed
  • Social services