Visiting Angels, Punta Gorda Blog

What to Expect During a Short-Term Rehab Stay

Elderly woman going through physical rehabWhether it’s a planned hip replacement or an unexpected stroke, a hospital stay can be scary and nerve-racking. What’s even more disconcerting is when the hospital plans to discharge you after a short stay, and you’re nowhere ready to return home. That’s where a short-term rehabilitation stay usually comes into the picture. Short-term rehabilitation centers allow seniors who have just had a hospital stay to regain strength and independence under the supervision of a medical team. The hospital’s role is to stabilize their patients. The rehabilitation’s role is to get patients back on their feet.

So, what can you expect during a short-term rehabilitation stay? What do you need to know about these facilities? Here are a few pointers to help you make the most of your short-term rehabilitation stay, so that you can return home as quickly as possible.

You Can [Mostly] Choose Where to Go

If you know in advance that you will be needing rehab after a hip replacement or other similar surgery, be sure to tour rehab facilities prior to surgery. This allows you to choose where you’ll discharge to after your hospital stay. Short-term rehab facilities operate on a first-come, first-serve basis, so some fill up more quickly than others. You do have a choice as to where you go, but you may not always get your first choice if that facility is at capacity. If you happen to tour and like one place over another, let the facility know you would like to rehab there, so that they can hold a bed for you if possible. If your hospital stay was unexpected, you can still voice your preference. In such cases, it’s common for family members to tour for their loved one and make a decision with their best interests in mind.

You Will be Evaluated by Multiple Departments Upon Admission

In order for the facility to be paid, Medicare requires that each department complete an in-person assessment or evaluation of each patient within fourteen days of admission. While you’re settling in, you may be interrupted by therapy, nurses, a social worker, a dietician, and an activity director. Each department is responsible for a different set of questions that Medicare has deemed necessary to ask. The purpose is to ensure that your needs and preferences are taken into account when developing a plan of care for your stay. Be patient with this process and answer honestly.

You Will be Expected to Participate

The purpose of a short-term rehabilitation stay is to get you back on your feet. While it might be nice to have some down time to recuperate and rest, the main goal is to get you home. You’ll be expected to work with a therapy team and participate in exercises that will help you regain strength and endurance. Because there are other patients in the facility, you may not always get to choose what time your therapy sessions are, based on your therapist’s patient load. You can express preferences and most therapy teams are willing to work around special requests. Keep in mind the end goal and know that you may have to miss your favorite television show from time to time in order to participate in therapy.

Your Discharge Plan is Already Set in Motion Upon Admission

The end goal is to get you home, so most short-term rehabilitation facilities will be working with you to ensure that your discharge to home goes as smoothly as possible. If your stay is longer than fourteen days, you’ll meet with your entire care plan team to discuss progress and discharge plans. If you have a shorter stay, you may work one-on-one with a therapy team member, nurse, and social worker, instead of the entire team. This depends on the rehab’s policies and procedures. Either way, your care plan team has your back and wants to ensure that you are confident to return home and that you’re returning to a safe environment. Your social worker or case manager will work with you to get you the necessary medical equipment you need, and that Medicare covers. Your therapists will ensure you can climb stairs if you have them and may even suggest a home visit to evaluate you in your home.

There Will be Down Time

Finally, know that there will be down time. Therapy and other appointments will take up some of your day, but you’ll likely have plenty of down time to rest and recuperate. If you’re a loner, you may appreciate the freedom to read a book or watch television. If you’re used to being more social, know that most rehab facilities have activity programs with you mind. Feel free to participate in activities that catch your interest. Ask family and friends to visit after your therapy sessions or in the evenings, when programs tend to wind down. Know that weekends are typically used as catch-up days for patients that missed therapy minutes, so pack that book you’ve been meaning to read or ask family for word puzzles or adult coloring books to help you pass the time.

Once you’ve returned home, know that Visiting Angels Punta Gorda is here to help you stay back on your feet. In fact, we can help you transition home prior to discharge. We can meet with you during your short-term rehabilitation stay and arrange for our compassionate caregivers to keep you company during down time. Then, when you transition home, our caregivers can provide non-medical assistance to ensure your safety and comfort during recover. We can even help with transport to crucial follow-up appointments and be an extra set of “eyes and ears” in your home, alerting your family to any changes in physical or cognitive health. Getting started with us is easy. Contact us today by calling 941-347-8288 Punta Gorda or 239-226-1620 Cape Coral.

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