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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

A wellness transition to home: Learn about your rehabilitation options

Aug 02, 2018 04:01AM ● By Beacon Senior News

As we age, the likelihood that we will end up in the hospital increases, whether it’s because of a planned admission for procedures, such as hip or knee replacement, or an unexpected, emergency stay following a fall or acute illness.

Hospital stays are much shorter than they were 30 years ago. But oftentimes, additional time is needed for recuperation and rehabilitation. Therapy is needed to improve strength and mobility, and nursing care is required for medication, pain and wound management.

Upon leaving the hospital, you have two primary options:

1) Home care with home health services

2) A short stay at a skilled nursing facility

The discharge planner at the hospital can discuss these options with you, and give you information on companies from which you may choose.

No place like home

Most of us would likely prefer to be able to go directly home. Home health is a service provided to patients who do not need 24-hour care, or who can be cared for by family or private caregivers. Typically, home health services include visits by nurses and therapists two to three times per week for a couple of weeks. There are several wonderful companies to choose from in the Grand Valley, but keep in mind that some of them do not accept certain Medicare Advantage Plans.

Transition in comfort

When 24-hour care is recommended, due to secondary to limited ability to perform activities of daily living, safety concerns, and/or limited support at home, a short stay in a good skilled nursing facility is the best place to be.

Skilled nursing facilities provide 24/7 nursing care. A licensed nurse administers medications, cares for wounds as directed by your physician, and assesses pain and overall health while communicating with your physician.

Therapists work with the patient an average of five days per week on strengthening, safety, transfers and other daily living activities, and will often assess your home for needed adjustments to accommodate your return. Speech therapists assist patients who have difficulty with swallowing or speech.

Skilled nursing facilities employ a full-time dietician to assist patients with diabetic or other special diets, weight loss or gain, malnutrition and other concerns. The facility has an entire team of professionals whose goal is to provide a comfortable, friendly environment that promotes rehabilitation for a safe transition to home as soon as possible. Sometimes this team includes professionals in social services, activities, housekeeping, laundry, maintenance and medical records. Some facilities even have a beauty shop.

Schedule a visit

You are welcome to visit most rehabilitation facilities prior to making a choice for yourself or a loved one. Make an appointment with the admissions coordinator, take a tour and ask any questions you may have. Being knowledgeable can alleviate undue stress. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the homelike atmosphere you will find in most homes.