So You Need a Rehabilitation Stay … What Now?

The unexpected event happens. Hip fracture and surgery. You are about to be discharged from the hospital and you’re not sure what the next steps are. Typically, as soon as a patient is stable in the hospital, the discharge planner will want to be informed of your plan. If you qualify for rehabilitation therapies paid for by Medicare, which facility should you choose?

Information on your care needs will be faxed to local skilled nursing settings to find out who has an appropriate bed available, which will be relayed to you by the discharge planner. You should be given multiple choices, and hopefully your family member or advocate will have time to tour and make the best decision. Your secondary insurance may also dictate the list of options you have to choose from. Once you arrive at the skilled nursing setting, it will take a few days to settle in.

The average stay in skilled nursing is two weeks. During that two weeks, an attending physician will see you within 72 hours. You will receive physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, if needed. Each week the team—including the therapists, dietician, social worker and nurse—will have a care conference to discuss your progress and goals. If possible, family should be present at these meetings, as this is your opportunity to ask questions or raise concerns.

The social worker will give you a 48-hour written notice prior to Medicare stopping coverage. Having a plan in place should be in the forefront of your mind the minute you arrive for your rehabilitative services. If you feel you are being discharged too soon, you have the right to appeal the discharge, with no guarantee the extension will be granted. Medicare guidelines as to meeting the goals of therapy is monitored closely.

Typically, home health and physical therapy will be ordered to follow you once you’re discharged. Are you going back home? Will you need to hire help in the home? Is it time to transition to assisted living? Whatever the path you choose, reach out for professional assistance to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.

Article provided by Senior Care Solutions Staff

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