What to Expect When Going to a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)
What to Bring
ξ Insurance cards
ξ Names and phone numbers of family
and/or friends to be called in an
ξ Copy of your Health Care Power of
ξ Note: if your loved one’s
Health Care Power of Attorney
is activated, the agent must be
able to complete and sign
paperwork (in-person, phone,
ξ 3-5 sets of clothes you would wear at
home and comfortable walking shoes
(label your items)
ξ Comfort items such as your pillow
ξ Glasses, hearing aids and batteries,
dentures, breathing machine (CPAP),
walker, and leg braces
ξ Cell phone and charger (some
facilities do not have phones in the
What Not to Bring
ξ Medicines, money, valuables,
jewelry or clothing that is hard to
ξ Cigars or cigarettes (most places are
Day of Arrival
ξ After leaving the hospital, go right to
the facility. The staff will be waiting
ξ Your medical records and list of
medicines will be sent to the nursing
ξ Your wishes for what to do if your
heart stops beating or you stop
breathing will be discussed when
ξ Your arrival day will be very busy.
You will meet with many people. It
can take a few hours to get you
ξ Most medicines will not be ready for
you right away when you arrive. If
you have a concern, ask your
hospital nurse if you should take
anything before leaving the hospital.
ξ It may take time to adjust to your
stay at the facility. There will be new
routines, sounds and staff. Most
people adjust within a day or two.
ξ You will be planning your care and
setting goals with the staff within the
first few days after you arrive.
ξ Physical and other therapies may
begin on the day you arrive.
ξ How long you stay depends upon
your care needs how you are doing
in your therapies. This will be talked
about when you arrive and during
ξ Visitors are welcome at all times
(especially during therapy sessions
and meals). Most places cannot have
overnight guests. Pets may be
allowed to visit.
ξ Activities such as card games, music,
and exercise are available. Check the
schedule to see what you might like
ξ Talk with the nurse and social
worker about questions or concerns.
ξ There are Registered Nurses (RNs),
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)
and Certified Nursing Assistants
(CNAs) at the facility. The CNAs
provide most of your care. There are
often 1-2 nurses per unit who will
oversee your care.
ξ Someone will help you as soon as
possible when you turn on your call
light. It may take a bit longer for
someone to answer it, based on the
needs of the other residents at that
ξ Doctors are available but are not in
the building at all times. The staff
can contact your doctor by phone if
needed. Talk with your nurse if you
ξ A change in your condition will be
reported to a doctor. Many
conditions can be treated at the
nursing facility without going to the
Amenities and Services
ξ Rooms vary in size and number of
beds in each room. Rooms may not
have a recliner chair.
ξ Private rooms, if available, may cost
more. Be sure to talk with hospital
discharge staff about this before
going to the facility.
ξ You may be sharing a bathroom and
ξ Meals and snacks are provided. You
will have a choice to eat in your
room or in the dining room.
ξ Some laboratory and x-ray services
are done at the nursing facility but
test results may take a bit longer to
ξ The pharmacy may not be on-site.
Your medicines will be reviewed,
ordered and given when they become
available. Insulin and supplies are
ξ Medicines cannot be kept in your
ξ All medicines (including over-the-
counter options like cough drops and
Tylenol) must have a doctor’s order.
Talk to the nurse if you have
ξ Nursing facility office staff will
check and discuss your insurance
benefits with you. The cost of your
stay will vary based on your
insurance coverage and length of
stay. You will be told about items
not covered during your stay.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 5/2017. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7972.