Skilled Nursing FAQs


What is a skilled nursing community?

A skilled nursing community provides nursing care and rehabilitative services to individuals recovering from an illness, injury, or surgery. Patients are typically referred to a skilled nursing community by their physician when they no longer need to be hospitalized, but aren’t yet ready to return to independent living. Through individualized programs that include physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy, patients are empowered to rehabilitate back to their personal best.

What is the difference between skilled nursing and assisted living?

Both skilled nursing and assisted living communities help residents perform activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming, and dressing. The biggest difference between the two is that skilled nursing communities can offer a higher level of medical care to patients after a hospitalization. Assisted living communities are more residential in nature and can only provide medication administration and management.

What are the signs that my loved one needs skilled nursing?

There are various reasons a person may require a short- or long-term stay at a skilled nursing community. People recovering from an injury, stroke, or surgery may need short-term care. If you can tell that your loved one needs access to 24-hour skilled medical care or has a complex, progressive, or cognitive health condition, a skilled nursing community is likely a very good option. If you or your loved one falls frequently or uses a wheelchair or are bed-bound, a skilled nursing community can be much safer than home, allowing residents to live a more vibrant life. To determine if your loved one would benefit from moving to a skilled nursing community, we’d be happy to talk with you to help you honestly assess your loved one’s current needs.

What types of care are available at skilled nursing communities?

At Heritage, we offer physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and post-acute rehabilitation to bridge the gap between hospital and home. Most skilled nursing facilities, including ours, also have medical doctors and nurse practitioners available, offer psychiatric services, and have registered dietitians on staff. Learn more about our therapy offerings here.

What does the star rating for skilled nursing facilities mean?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) developed a rating system for nursing homes to help families compare short- and long-term care options for their loved ones. There is one overall rating for each facility and a separate rating for each of the following: health inspections, quality measures, and staffing. Learn more about CMS Star Ratings here.


How can I be admitted for rehabilitation or skilled nursing at a Heritage location?

We are here every step of the way to help make your admission process as stress free as possible. The first step is to contact our Centralized Admissions Office at (716) 484-6695. Our experienced and caring staff will walk you through the process, answer all of your questions, and offer helpful advice to assist you in making a decision that meets your individualized needs.

Is there availability for rehabilitation and skilled nursing care?

We always strive to meet the needs of those we care for. We typically have availability and will work with you to determine the best solution. Many of our residents are currently completing short-term stays in each of our communities and returning to their homes. This creates regular openings for new residents in need of rehabilitation and skilled nursing care.

How will my care and stay be paid for?

Our communities have established contracts with several insurance companies who fund care in our facilities. Our team, which include admissions, social work, and finance will work together to find a solution that works best for you. Our rehab and skilled nursing facilities are fully certified by Medicare and New York State Medicaid. In order to ensure compliance, we are regularly inspected by regulatory agencies.


What do I need to bring?

  • We encourage residents to wear comfortable clothing. We have no specific dress code requirements and suggest you initially bring three to four changes of machine washable clothing.

  • We offer free in-house laundry. We will attach a small iron-on printed label to your clothing so it can be easily identified.
  • All basic toiletries (including incontinent and medical supplies) are provided.
  • Our in-house pharmacy can supply all of your prescriptions.
  • You may bring your own flat-screen television for your room, and cable service is available at no cost. Free local telephone service is, and you may bring your cell phone. Some rooms come pre-equipped with televisions and phones.

What types of activities are offered at skilled nursing communities?

We want your Heritage Experience to be both therapeutic and enjoyable. We offer a variety of social, creative, physical, and educational activities that appeal to all residents and patients. Our staff works hard to make sure everyone feels welcome by planning group outings, birthday celebrations, live music, and other events. We also offer salon and concierge services to make your stay comfortable and convenient.

Is smoking permitted?

No. Heritage Ministries is committed to your care and health, and as such, all of our facilities are tobacco-free campuses. Residents and visitors are not permitted to smoke on our premises. No tobacco products of any kind are permitted in our facilities; including but not limited to chewing tobacco, snuff, cigarettes, pipe, and vaping.

Is a physician available on the premises?

Yes. Our in-house physician directs our medical staff and is available to see residents in each location. Our rehab and skilled nursing communities also employ full-time nurse practitioners and contract with Optum. Your personal physician is also permitted to see you within our communities.

When can I have visitors?

(Due to COVID-19, at times there may be limited visitation.) Preferred visiting hours are 8am-7pm daily for normal visitation. Children age 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult. We also welcome your pet if an immunization record is received prior to the first visit. They must also be on a leash or confined and supervised at all time. Please see a receptionist for further information about pet visits. Each location can provide information about the current Visitation Guidelines as advised by the local and state authorities.