Planning Your Stay

Be informed about your stay at a Skilled Nursing Facility through these frequently asked questions.

Being admitted to a SNF

What is skilled nursing care?

Skilled nursing care is given to individuals who need licensed and trained professionals to treat, manage, observe, and evaluate their care, usually on a daily basis and for rehabilitative purposes. Examples include intravenous (IV) injections and physical therapy. Patients stay in skilled nursing facilities only until they have recovered enough to move back home or to another living arrangement.

Skilled nursing and rehabilitation staff can include

  • Kaiser Permanente doctor,
  • Kaiser Permanente case manager,
  • registered nurses,
  • licensed practical and vocational nurses,
  • physical and occupational therapists,
  • speech language pathologists, and
  • nutritionists.

Who will help me at a Kaiser Permanente premier SNF?

You’ll be assigned a Kaiser Permanente health care team that includes a physician and a case manager. In addition, you will likely work with various therapists, who will help with your rehabilitation.

Because the focus is on restoring your independence, you’ll have more freedom and more choices at the SNF than in the hospital. As you continue to improve, your health care team will work with you on setting new recovery goals, and planning for your discharge.

Your Kaiser Permanente physician, along with SNF rehab team, will decide if you need skilled nursing care and for how long. On average, patients stay a maximum of one to three weeks.

Will I always be admitted to a premier SNF?

Most of the time, the answer is yes. However, in some circumstances you may be admitted to a non-premier contracted SNF instead. This may be because you need specialized services that are only available at a contracted SNF or because there are no beds available at a premier SNF.

A contracted SNF is a facility which Kaiser Permanente has evaluated and approved, based on industry ratings, patient satisfaction surveys, and community feedback. There are some differences between premier SNFs and non-premier contracted SNFs; for example, a Kaiser Permanente case manager may be in contact with a non-premier contracted SNF about three times per week, but is usually not located at that facility.

If you have questions about these differences, talk to your
Kaiser Permanente case manager.

Who decides when the skilled nursing care coverage ends? How will I be informed?

Your Kaiser Permanente physician and health care team will make a decision based on proven medical guidelines about when you’ll be discharged. You’ll be notified when that decision has been made.

What should I bring to the SNF?

You will need to bring your Kaiser Permanente member identification (ID) card and all other insurance cards, including Medicare. Also, ask a family member or friend to bring a copy of your durable power of attorney for health care and your advanced directive documents, if you have them.

In general, you’ll need clothing that is comfortable and easy to put on and take off, such as button-down shirts, loose slacks, and shoes that do not make floor marks (sneakers or tennis/athletic shoes, for example). You’ll also want to bring personal items such as a brush, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, shaving cream, deodorant, and shampoo. All items should be clearly marked with your name, including eyeglass cases, denture containers, and articles of clothing.

Do SNFs provide medical equipment?

If needed, the SNF usually will provide the following items during your stay:

  • hospital bed (manual or semi-electric)
  • standard wheelchairs
  • standard walkers
  • bedside commodes
  • canes

If you need special equipment, a Kaiser Permanente physician will order it. Coverage and cost for the special equipment depends on your Kaiser Permanente benefit plan. Please refer to your Evidence of Coverage, Certificate of Insurance, or Schedule of Coverage for information about your medical equipment benefit.

Should I have someone bring my medicines from home?

No. SNFs do not allow you to bring medicines from your home. The facility will provide all medicine. This includes any prescribed medicine you were taking before your admission, as well as over-the-counter medicines such as cold medicines, antacids, Tylenol, and aspirin. The nursing facility can only give medicines ordered by the hospital physician or the SNF physician. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, oral chemotherapy medications may not be available at the SNF, and you may be asked to bring this in from home.

Physician care

Will my primary care physician visit me in the premier SNF?

When you are about to leave the hospital and transfer to a
Kaiser Permanente premier SNF, your primary care physician (PCP) will be notified. Upon arriving at the premier SNF, you will be assigned a health care team that includes a Kaiser Permanente physician and case manager.

This team is responsible for managing your rehabilitation plan, along with other therapists, as required. Your PCP will continue to have access to your electronic medical record and can follow your progress in the SNF, by communicating with the Kaiser Permanente physician at the SNF, as needed.

Later, when you’re about to be discharged, your PCP will be notified and your SNF case manager will schedule a follow-up appointment for you with your PCP. That appointment will usually take place within five to seven days after you are discharged. Of course, you may also call your PCP yourself to arrange the appointment if you prefer.

How often will I see a physician at a premier SNF?

At a Kaiser Permanente premier SNF, your Kaiser Permanente physician will usually see you at least once a week. The SNF itself has its own nurses and social workers available in the facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How will the premier SNF contact my Kaiser Permanente physician, if needed?

Kaiser Permanente physicians are available by pager and telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If there are changes in your condition, the SNF nursing staff will inform the Kaiser Permanente physician.

Will someone at the premier SNF always know where I am and what I need?

Yes. Your assigned Kaiser Permanente premier SNF health care team will receive all of your information, including your medical history and required care, before you enter the facility. They will inform the SNF staff about you and your plan of care, so that someone will always know what you'll need.

Leaving the SNF

If I need to go from the SNF back to the hospital or to a Kaiser Permanente medical center, how will I get there?

If you need medical transportation, the SNF will make arrangements for you.

In most cases, nonemergency transportation is not a covered benefit. This includes a private car, taxi, gurney vans, wheelchair vans, and other non-ambulance transportation. For example, if you need a ride to see your physician for a follow-up visit, you are responsible for the transportation costs.

For non-urgent transportation needs, the SNF social worker can help you to arrange transportation.

What happens when it is time to go home from the SNF?

Your Kaiser Permanente health care team and the SNF staff will help with your discharge from the SNF.

If you are going to a private home or other housing, your primary care physician (PCP) will want to discuss ongoing care with you. Your Kaiser Permanente health care team can help arrange a follow-up appointment with your PCP to take place five to seven days after your discharge, or you can call your PCP’s office directly.

Your Kaiser Permanente case manager can also help arrange to have rehabilitation equipment delivered to your home, along with skilled care by a home health nurse or therapist.

What if I have more questions?

For more information about your benefits coverage, your health plan, or your rights to appeal a medical decision, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage, Certificate of Insurance, or Schedule of Coverage, depending on your Kaiser Permanente plan.

You can also speak with your case manager or call Kaiser Permanente Member Services at 1-800-777-7902 toll free (TTY 711), Monday - Friday (excluding holidays), 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. ET.

Members enrolled in Medicare Plus may call Member Services at 1-888-777-5536 (TTY 711), seven days a week, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. ET.

* Kaiser Permanente skilled nursing facilities are independently owned and operated hospitals and are not affiliated entities of Kaiser Permanente.