6 Things to Look for in a Senior Short-Term Rehab Care Center

If you or a loved one is going to need to spend time in a short-term rehab care center, there are certain aspects of a facility you should consider when choosing where to stay. Below are 6 things to look for to help you make the right decision for this short, but crucial, period in recovery.

1. Do they accept your insurance, cover all or part of the stay or require pre-certification?

The first thing to find out about a short-term rehab center is whether they accept your insurance and, if so, does the insurance company require pre-certification in order for the stay to be covered? Some insurance providers will cover all or only part of the stay, so find out how much is covered, what the co-pays are and what the deductible will be for a stay at a rehab facility.

In addition, some insurance providers will put a cap on your stay. For example, traditional Medicare coverage will require a senior to meet several eligibility requirements to receive coverage, including a “qualifying hospitalization event.” If those requirements are met, a patient is eligible for up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility. However, only the first 20 days are covered at 100 percent. After that, the next 80 inpatient days will require a co-pay. The good news for short-term rehab residents at Marquette is that the average stay for a Medicare patient is 18 days.

2. Are there separate staff and areas for short- and long-term care?

Often a short-term rehabilitation center will also be part of a long-term skilled nursing community. If this is the case, ensure that the rehab center has specialized staff just for patients who are there for short-term recovery, as the needs of short-term patients are vastly different than those of long-term residents.

Some senior care communities also run their short- and long-term care programs in different areas or on different floors. This is the preferable arrangement for short-term rehab patients since the recovery process back to a more normal, mobile lifestyle is easier when care is focused and the environment is tailored to their specific needs.

3. What types of therapies are available?

Depending on the type of rehabilitation needed, you should ensure that the center offers the therapies onsite that will allow for recovery as quickly and as safely as possible. Look for physical, occupational, cardiac and cognitive therapies that are offered by specialized clinicians on the premises at the rehab care center.

Other beneficial therapy services and amenities to look for are fitness centers, massage and yoga.

4. Is it clean and well-lit?

When you visit a short-term rehab care center, take stock of the environment and atmosphere. If the overall sense of the place is cheery, clean and well-lit, you can likely expect an attentive staff that is committed to all the little details that make for an effective recovery.

5. Do they care for more than just physical improvement?

During a stay at a rehab center, you or your loved one will be safely pushed to the limit, which, no doubt, will be both physically and emotionally draining. Add this to the natural let down of not feeling like yourself and being in a strange place, and it becomes vitally important that the care center you choose takes into account your emotional well-being, too.

On a tour, find out if there’s there more to do between therapy sessions than just sit in the room with the TV. Are there social opportunities with other short-term rehab residents? Is the food appetizing, nutritious and available whenever hunger might strike? What little touches do you notice that make the stay as enjoyable as possible - warm smiles from the staff, fresh flowers, comfortable chairs for visitors, a library of books and magazines to peruse?

6. Is the staff is communicative of what is to be expected after discharge?

When it comes time for a rehab patient to head home, the medical staff should be clear about what will need to happen for you or your loved one to have a complete recovery. Make sure you know the answers to these questions before discharge:

  • Will you need to have transportation arranged to additional therapies and/or doctors’ appointments or will the short-term rehab center provide it?
  • Will the short-term rehab center help arrange and follow-up on outpatient care or will you have to make these plans?
  • Are in-home physical and occupational therapy appointments included in the post-discharge care plan? Will the rehab center provide these resources or will you have to find them yourself?
  • Is there access to other assistive services like Meals on Wheels through the rehab center or is this something you will need to plan for?

You have options when it comes to choosing a short-term rehab care center for a senior loved one or for yourself following an illness, surgery or injury. As you do your due diligence of the different facilities available in the area, keep this list handy to find the best place to recover. If you’re ready to learn more about Marquette, contact us to schedule a tour today.