Post supplied by: Steve Hopkins, Vice President Wellness & Home Based Solutions, Evangelical Homes of Michigan
Many of us could have thought of this question as we were faced with this stage of healthcare. After a hospital stay or visit, the need for additional services such as short term rehabilitation and/or nursing services may be needed in order to fully recover.
Your situation could be due to a short illness, injury, or a planned surgery. Whatever the case, navigating and understanding short-term rehabilitation can still be a challenge. Listed below are a few key thoughts that you can inquire about to help make this process a bit smoother.
First, understand the transition from the hospital stay or visit to the next setting. Understanding what types of services will be needed for you or your loved one in order to make a full recovery is imperative. Your physician will make recommendations and next steps. Upon that recommendation, a hospital social worker will provide you with a list of resources and options available in your immediate area. After hospital discharge (if there was a stay) often there is transition to a short-term sub-acute rehabilitation facility. After this, there likely would be a recommendation for therapy and nursing to continue at home when you are able to return there safely. And then after home therapy discharges, there are a few providers that even offer continued wellness and healthy living opportunities to fully complete your recovery.
Another key component is identifying providers who can offer all of these services. The important fact here is that you have many options and can decide what is best for you or your loved one. The challenge is that you may not know your provider choices, your provider’s capability, the quality of the provider, or if they have a record of excellent customer service. Asking your doctor, as well as family and friends for recommendations is important. They can speak from many perspectives such as from a clinical quality perspective, as well as from a customer service side. Some quick hands-on research may be necessary too. It’s always good to visit a facility and see it with your own eyes, if time allows. If an onsite visit is not an option, visiting websites helps too (many times facilities will have virtual tours and photos available) so that you can view the facility from a distance. In your research it is important to ask questions like:
- “Does your organization provide all of the services I need through my entire transition?” Ask for a full list of services so that you have a reference in the future.
- “How can I see if your facility is comfortable and modern or institutional?” If you cannot visit in person ask if a virtual tour or photos are available on their website.
- “What types of therapy or short-term rehabilitation services are available?” Are physical, occupational, speech and aquatic therapy available? Will they have outpatient rehabilitation services available for you after you discharge from the facility. Continuing outpatient services is a great way for you to continue working on your recovery with the same team of therapists and in familiar surroundings.
- “Will a company representative like a transition manager or nurse visit me in the hospital before my discharge?” Often times organizations have specialized team members such as transition managers and/or clinical liaison’s to visit with you at the hospital. They can be instrumental in sharing treatment and outcome information between the hospital and the facility, as well as providing you with information about what to expect and the process of your recovery at the facility.
- “Will your team communicate directly with my doctor through each stage so they know what is going on with me?” Ask them to elaborate on how information about your progress will be shared with your physician.
- “How long will I need to be at the facility?” Many facilities will refer to a length of stay (LOS) and can usually report their average performance for different diagnoses.
- “Are your performance results (improvement measures and re-hospitalization) readily accessible to me?” Depending on the type of license the facility has, you can visit http://www.medicare.gov/Nursing/Overview.asp for information on the facility’s latest state level survey; often times facilities also publish annual quality scores as well.
- “Will my insurance cover my entire stay, will I have any out-of-pocket costs?” Often times there are gaps in insurance coverage, including Medicare, and it’s important to know what you will be responsible for up front.
These questions may seem basic, but the answers can start to put a picture together about what will happen once you are admitted into a short-term rehabilitation facility. Connecting with a provider that you know will support you through every stage of rehabilitation is something you deserve but something you may need to request.
There are many great resources available in our local community. Learn more about many of these community resources at the upcoming Housing Bureau for Seniors Expo on Friday, May 10, 2013. Many local organizations will have exhibits and expert staff on hand to provide you with information and resources. You will have the opportunity to hear more about ALL of the available rehabilitation options, stages, and facts that you need to know in order to be prepared to quickly receive the care you need and to return home healthy!