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Post-Hospital Care: Should I Choose Home Health or Short-Term Stays?

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It’s true, as poet T.S. Eliot wrote in “Four Quartets,” that “Home is where one starts from.” And after a hospital stay, home is also the place you want to return to — back to familiar surroundings, your own bed and your regular routine. However, before you can return to your everyday life, you’ll typically need support to help you regain function that may have been lost. The short-term rehabilitation services you need can take place at home through home health care or during a stay at a senior rehabilitation center. While home health may seem like the obvious choice, since it’s the fastest route back home, there are some factors to consider before you make your decision.

What Does Short-Term Rehabilitation Entail?

The goal of short-term rehab is to help restore function and reduce pain after a medical setback. Even if you’re well on your way to recovery from the illness, injury or surgery that required hospitalization, you may have lost strength, balance and stamina simply from lying in a hospital bed with limited movement.  While the exact amount of short-term rehab will depend on your condition, a common guideline is one week of rehab for every day you’re in the hospital.

Typically short-term rehab involves a combination of several types of therapeutic care, including:

  • Physical therapy to help restore mobility, strength, balance and stamina and to help reduce or manage pain.
  • Occupational therapy to ensure that you’re able to resume essential activities, such as bathing, dressing and preparing meals.
  • Speech therapy to address any communication challenges or issues with swallowing.

Deciding Which Is the Best Option for You

The medical team and discharge planner at the hospital may have suggestions regarding which type of post-hospital care would be most suitable for you. Here are some additional considerations to keep in mind as you weigh your options:

  • Insurance requirements. Your insurance provider may require that you receive your post-hospital care in a  rehabilitation center, especially if you’re recovering from a major injury, illness or surgery. This requirement is based primarily on research that shows that patients who go to a skilled nursing facility for short-term rehab have a lower rate of hospital readmission than those who go directly home.
  • Feasibility. You’ll need to find out whether there are providers in your area who can deliver the services you need in your home. Also consider whether you’ll require specialized equipment, which may be impractical to bring into your home. In such cases, you may be better served in a short-term rehab center where the services and equipment you need will be available on-site.
  • Potential complications. In a senior rehab center, staff are available 24/7 to monitor your condition and quickly address any potential problems that arise, helping you stay on track in your recovery.
  • Logistics. If you choose home health care, you’ll need to coordinate your providers’ visits and schedule transportation to any outpatient appointments that are needed. During a short-term stay at a senior rehabilitation center, a physician-led, multidisciplinary team coordinates your care, and you’ll often have multiple therapy sessions a day, helping you recover — and return home — more quickly.
  • Environment. Depending on the layout of your home, it may not be well-suited for your recovery journey. An upstairs bedroom, for example, may be inaccessible if you’re temporarily unable to use stairs. Short-term rehabilitation centers are designed to be accessible and obstacle-free, so you have a safe, and productive, stay.
  • Daily tasks. After your discharge from the hospital, you may not be fully up to managing your daily needs, such as dressing yourself, bathing and preparing meals. In a senior rehabilitation center, round-the-clock staff are available to help with activities of daily living, and nourishing, delicious meals are prepared for you.

Senior Living at Monticello West

After a hospital stay, some older adults realize that returning home isn’t their goal. Instead, they want to move to a community where they feel safe, where they can connect with a new circle of friends, and where the maintenance-free lifestyle gives them more time to enjoy life. If that sounds like the perfect senior living environment, it is. And you can find it at Monticello West. To learn more about independent living, assisted living, enhanced assisted living and memory care here at Monticello West, contact us. We’d be happy to answer your questions or help you schedule a tour.

You Are Invited to Experience Our Community!

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