8 FAQs Caregivers Have About Senior Short-Term Rehabilitation

March 07, 2022  |  by WesleyLife

Hospitalizations, surgeries, and other procedures take a toll on the body. For older adults, recovery can take even longer. To help older patients return home as safely as possible, many physicians will incorporate short-term rehabilitation into a hospital discharge plan. Although patients want to get back to their routines, short-term rehabilitation helps ensure that their return home is safe and the risk of rehospitalization and accidents is minimized.

As a caregiver, the more you know about short-term rehabilitation, the better you can advocate for your loved one’s safety and understand their discharge plans. Here are answers to some of the most common questions we are asked about short-term rehabilitation:

1. What is short-term rehabilitation?

Short-term rehabilitation – sometimes referred to as “skilled rehabilitation” or “skilled care” – is an “in-between” stop that follows a qualified hospital stay and precedes a return home. Short-term rehabilitation services are typically offered in a skilled nursing community.

2. What are the goals of short-term rehabilitation?

Although individual goals vary from person to person, short-term rehabilitation aims to provide clients with the recovery time and support they need to return home safely and confidently.

Older adults who return home after a hospital stay are at an increased risk for readmission, especially if they do not have the support to keep up with prescribed therapy sessions. In addition to therapy, tasks like household chores and meal preparation can become too taxing. A stay at a community that offers short-term rehabilitation may be the solution.

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Communities that offer short-term rehabilitation provide an environment for clients to manage their pain, participate in physical, occupational, and speech therapy sessions, and build their confidence before they head home. Team members are there to assist with daily tasks and provide healthy meals, allowing clients to focus on recovery.

3. What therapy is offered in short-term rehabilitation?

Generally, communities that support short-term rehabilitation offer on-site therapy sessions as prescribed for each individual. Often, clients participate in more than one therapy session per day, building strength and endurance to return home feeling their best.

Communities offer physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Each type of therapy builds the skills and strength clients need to resume their lives at home. In addition, communities can offer wound therapy, pain management, complex condition management, and other services to help clients recover.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy focuses on treating abnormal physical function. Sessions include exercises to build balance, flexibility, strength, and endurance. At WesleyLife Communities for Healthy Living, physical therapists work with short-term clients to recover range of motion and promote optimal physical function. 

Therapists will also show clients how to safely use new mobility devices, including how to get in and out of their cars safely, manage automatic doors at the store, and maintain balance when moving from one surface to another. Therapists work with each individual to meet their specific needs and goals.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy helps people regain skills they use throughout the day. Sessions include practice with activities of daily living, like bending over to put clothes in the dryer or chopping vegetables for soup. 

At WesleyLife Communities for Healthy Living, therapy gyms are designed to provide real-life situations for clients. These gyms feature mini-kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathroom sinks that clients can use during occupational therapy sessions to practice skills before returning home.

Speech Therapy

Speech therapy addresses challenges with speech, language, communication, and swallowing. Speech therapy is especially crucial for adults who have had strokes, though it is also helpful for those living with cognitive difficulties. Sessions are focused on individual needs.

4. Does Medicare cover short-term rehabilitation?

Medicare will cover costs associated with short-term rehabilitation if the client is covered and the stay meets certain requirements. For example, the qualifying hospital stay must be at least three nights before admission. If so, Medicare will cover 100% of the costs for days 1-20. From day 21 through day 100, Medicare will cover 80% of the costs, so long as the client is progressing toward their care-plan goals.

Medicare will cover up to 100 days per year. The cost of any additional days of treatment will be billed to the client. 

5. Can anyone rehabilitate at a WesleyLife Community for Healthy Living?

WesleyLife short-term rehabilitation services are open to both the greater community and the residents who already live in any WesleyLife Community for Healthy Living. If you know that your loved one will be undergoing a scheduled procedure or will be discharged soon, now is a great time to make plans for that person to transition from the hospital.

6. Does a client need to have had surgery to benefit from short-term rehabilitation?

Any adult who has been in the hospital for a few days can benefit from extra strength training, assistance, and support before returning home. Clients in a short-term rehabilitation community might have been in the hospital for pneumonia, a knee replacement, or a stroke. 

Although every short-term rehabilitation client is unique, they all work to develop strength and confidence before returning home.

7. What are the advantages of choosing a WesleyLife Community for Healthy Living for short-term rehabilitation?

Short-term rehabilitation services at a WesleyLife Community for Healthy Living are exceptional. Our therapists, nurses, and other team members are dedicated to providing the optimal environment for recovery.

At WesleyLife communities, all services and amenities are open to the entire community, meaning short-term rehabilitation clients enjoy our culinary experiences and amenities.

Additionally, neighbors, friends, and family members are encouraged to visit — barring any COVID-19 restrictions — which can be an encouraging boost for recovering patients. For those who already live on campus, the transition back home after short-term rehabilitation is even more convenient.

When you are ready to return home, the WesleyLife At Home team can provide support with household activities, including meal preparation or housekeeping. Therapists can also visit to continue progress at home. 

8. How can I find a short-term rehabilitation community?

Find a WesleyLife community near you. In each of our 12 Communities for Healthy Living from western Iowa to western Illinois, you will find amenities, resources, and services to enhance health and well-being.

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