Whether it’s a planned hip replacement or an unexpected stroke, a hospital stay can be scary and nerve-racking. What’s even more unsettling is the thought of returning home when you’re not ready. Fortunately, many seniors have the option to receive care and support at a short-term rehabilitation facility before returning home. Short-term rehabilitation centers play a large role in a senior’s journey to recovery. The hospital’s role is to stabilize its patients. The rehabilitation’s role is to get patients back on their feet.

Although short-term rehabilitation centers aren’t new, some seniors are unfamiliar with the concept. Family members can also feel confused as they meet with hospital discharge planners and short-term rehabilitation admissions. With that in mind, here are a few pointers to help seniors and their families make the most of a short-term rehabilitation stay. 

You Can Choose Where You Prefer to Go 

Seniors and their families have the choice to select their preferred short-term rehab facility upon hospital discharge. This doesn’t always mean that the patient will get their number one choice. However, most hospital discharge planners will work with your preferred choice and do their best to secure a bed. It’s a good idea to tour rehabilitation facilities prior to a planned surgery. During your tour, ask the facility about their bed-hold policy. Some facilities are willing to hold a bed if you pay a small fee. If you have an unexpected hospital stay, your family members can tour facilities for you and help you make a choice. 

The First Few Days are Extremely Busy 

The purpose of a short-term rehabilitation stay is to get patients back on their feet. This means that you’ll be busy, especially those first few days. The therapy team and nurses will need to do their initial evaluations. Other care staff, including a social worker, dietician, and activity director, will also stop by to meet you and ask questions about your preferences. Be patient with the process and answer questions honestly. 

You Will Be Expected to Participate 

Once you’ve been evaluated, you’ll be expected to get to work. The therapy team will give you specific exercises that will help you regain strength and endurance. Nurses and certified nursing assistants will assist you but will encourage you to do as much for yourself per therapy’s recommendations. You will also be expected to participate in other events, such as eating in the dining room or getting involved in activities. Remember, the more you engage and participate, the quicker you will recover and return home. 

Your Discharge Plan Begins at Admission 

A care team comprised of a nurse, therapist, and social worker will create a discharge plan for each short-term rehabilitation patient upon admission. Together, with your input, the team sets in motion the plan to get you home. Everyone works together to ensure that you are confident to return home and that your home environment is safe. 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 environment. 

There Will Be Downtime 

Therapy and other appointments will take up some of the day; however, once you’re in the routine, you may be surprised to find that you have a lot of downtime. Most short-term rehabilitation patients welcome the free time to rest, recuperate, read, or watch television. If you ever feel bored, know that most short-term rehabilitation facilities have activity programs with you in mind. Feel free to participate in events that catch your interest. Ask visitors to come in the evenings or weekends, after therapy is finished. Weekends are typically reserved as a catch-up day, so you may want to pack an extra book or word puzzles to help you pass the time. 

Once you return home, it’s important that you have the support you need in order to reduce your risk of being readmitted to the hospital. Should you need more care and support than your family can provide, Senior Living Solutions is here to help you navigate your options. Whether it’s a move to an assisted living facility or finding the right in-home care to help you stay safe at home, we can be trusted to help you find what you need. We’ve personally toured and vetted each individual community and provider, which cuts down the amount of time you or your family need to spend touring places that may not meet your needs. If you are interested in exploring available senior living options, please contact us today by calling 501-650-3013.