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Everything You Need to Know About Short-term Rehab

Everything You Need to Know About Short-term Rehab

If you ever find yourself in an accident or in need of serious surgery, it's best to already be informed and prepared for what comes next. For many, the answer to that question will be short-term rehab, also known as short-term, post-hospital, or post-acute care. This article will cover the basics of short-term rehab: what it entails, what you'll be doing, how long 'short-term' really is, how it's handled by Medicare and a few other useful pieces of information.

Why You Might Need Short-term Rehab

Short-term rehabilitation could be suitable for assisting you in recovery from strokes, joint replacements, neurological ailments, and any number of surgeries, accidents, and illnesses. Many patients who are ready to leave the hospital aren't yet ready to return to their normal activity levels. At a short-term rehabilitation center, you'll receive a care plan to help you return to your fullest capacity as soon as possible, under the care of doctors, therapists, and other experts in rehabilitation. 

What to Expect During Your Stay

Your exact experience during a stay at a short-term rehab facility will depend on what you're there for. Your capabilities and goals for recovery will heavily influence your day-to-day activities. You may interact regularly with physicians, nurses, social services, nutritionists, and various specialists in physical, mental, and speech recovery. 

You'll have a bit more leeway than you might in a hospital setting; after all, the goal is to restore you to normality, not prolong your hospital stay in a new location. You'll wear your own clothes, you can bring in food to have distributed to you, and your room will have a few options for entertainment. You may also want to bring a few things of personal value, something to keep busy such as books or a computer, or other small items.

How Long to Expect to Stay

There's no fixed amount of time for post-hospital care. Generally speaking, most patients will be in short-term rehab for four to six weeks, but the exact amount of time depends on your condition. If your recovery is taking a bit longer or you would like to work on more goals, you can usually opt to transition into an intermediate or long-term care plan. 

Medicare Coverage for Short-term Rehab

Medicare coverage for short-term rehabilitation is contingent on two things - that the rehab center you're staying at is Medicare-certified and that you've spent three nights as an inpatient within the last 30 days. You'll need a doctor to order rehab a short-term rehab center, but there's some leeway to determine if it's necessary after you've spent some time at home. 

One you're in a rehab center, you have up to 100 days of care under Medicare, contingent on continued improvement. If you're not improving, Medicare stops paying under the assumption you require a different form of care. The 100-day limit resets after a clean 60 days between discharge from care and hospitalization.

In other words, your 101st day of post-hospital rehabilitation coverage and every day after, will not be covered by Medicare - not unless you've been healthy for 60 days, then spent another three nights as an inpatient.

Other Forms of Coverage

Other forms of coverage for short-term rehab are dependent upon the exact terms of that coverage; most commercial insurance and other mainstream forms of coverage work fine for covering post-hospital care, but you'll need to confirm that a particular center is within your network, what services are specifically covered, etc. 

In conclusion, recovery rarely ends at the hospital. If you and your doctor aren't sure you're ready to get back to normal - whatever normal may mean for you - then a short-term rehab center is your next best option. A few weeks or months of focused recovery under the care of an expert team can be far more effective than that same period spent at home, so don't be afraid to delay your return, which will make that return all the better. 

Contact us at WesleyLife today for more information.

Am I eligible only once for 100 days of skilled care?

You can regain 100 days of your skilled benefit once you’ve achieved a 60-day “spell of wellness.” That means you've had no additional hospitalizations within 60 days of your skilled rehab discharge.

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