When your senior loved one is discharged from a Michigan hospital, they may have a long road to recovery ahead. Depending on the illness, injury or treatment, it could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months before your aging parent has regained their independence.
In order to heal, they will not only need assistance with healthcare, but also with everyday tasks like bathing, dressing and meal preparation. Your loved one may get this care temporarily in a rehabilitation center, but will also need extra help in their home or in a respite care at an assisted-living community
Being involved in their care before and after discharge can help ensure that they recuperate and return to their daily routine as soon as possible.
The first step
Recovery from a hospital occurs in several stages. If your aging parent is doing well, the hospital may discharge them directly into home care, where family will be responsible for supervising their recovery. Because this situation is not always best for the senior, many are transferred to a short-term rehabilitation center, where they can receive 24-hour skilled nursing services, as well physical, speech and occupational therapy. If the senior meets the criteria, Medicare will cover up to 100 days in one of these skilled nursing communities.
The discharge plan
As soon as your aging parent is admitted, the staff begins discharge planning. When a team of caregivers determines that your senior is healthy enough for release, they will call a meeting and provide options for the family to investigate and consider.
Use a Discharge Planning Checklist to help you prepare for the meeting. It will make it easier for you to have all the information discharge planners need to assess your senior loved one’s care and home environment.
If you aren’t certain if your senior loved one will be safe at home, be sure to share your concerns with the discharge team. They can share resources, offer support and possibly alter their plan. You can also appeal a Medicare discharge decision and request a reassessment.
Once a senior in your care is released from a hospital or rehab center, you will need to decide the best approach for making a full recovery. You will have several choices to consider:
1) Home care administered by family. This will require that you wear many hats as you take on a nursing role. You may need to administer medications, care for wounds, and oversee exercise, as well as bathing, dressing, meals and housecleaning. If your loved one lives alone, you may need to stay with them until they are in better health.
2) In-home care. You might consider hiring a visiting nurse or a private duty aide to lighten your load. A qualified caregiver can make recovery easier on your senior loved one and on you. If a physician orders skilled home health care, it will typically be covered by Medicare. Otherwise, your loved one will have to pay out of pocket.
3) In-home therapy or outpatient therapy. If your loved one needs therapy to build muscle strength, recover lost speech skills, or to re-learn ordinary tasks, a physician may order in-home therapy or outpatient therapy. With a physician’s order, both are usually covered by a senior’s Medicare.
4) Respite Care: You may want to consider a short-term stay at an assisted living community if your loved one is not ready to return home alone after a hospitalization. This allows them to live in a safe and comfortable home-like environment where they can get 24-assistance with care tasks. They can also receive therapy services through a skilled home health agency while they are recovering at an assisted living community.
If you are considering respite care for your recovering senior loved one in the Great Lakes State, call the Heritage Senior Community nearest you.
When an older adult is hospitalized following a surgery, an injury or an illness, they may require a stay in a short-term rehabilitation center before they are able to safely return home. Skilled nursing and rehab centers allow patients to continue their recovery and transition toward independence with the assistance of a nursing and therapy staff. These rehab centers often offer a more comfortable, relaxed environment.
If your loved one needs to be transferred to a short-term rehab center, you will likely need to help them decide which one best meets their needs. Doing your homework and making a smart decision is crucial. Care that doesn’t meet your senior’s needs could delay their recovery. Quality, patient-centered care can promote faster healing, while giving families peace of mind that they are in safe hands.
Beginning the Search for a Short-term Rehab Partner
Start your search by consulting with the social worker or discharge planner from the hospital where your loved one is a patient. He or she can provide you with a Medicare-approved list of skilled nursing and rehab centers in your area. You can also do a web-search and ask friends for referrals. Once you have a list of possibilities, narrow down your choices based on the following criteria:
Ratings and certifications: The federal government’s Medicare Nursing Home Compare rates nursing homes and rehab centers based on health inspections, staffing, amenities, and quality measures. Search by zip code and use their online database to track rehab centers to consider based on quality scores and the distance from your home. You can even create your own comparison chart.
Your Senior’s Needs: Consult your loved one’s physician and hospital social worker to determine the type of care your senior requires. All short-term rehab centers offer help with day-to-day activities like bathing, dressing, and medications. But some are not equipped for patients in need of speech therapy or for patients who need more intensive physical rehabilitation.
Therapy Methods: Call or visit short-term rehab centers to learn more about their approach to transitional care. How much and what type of therapies are offered? How many times a day will your loved one see a physical therapist? How long are the sessions? Look for a center that provides 1-3 hours of therapy each day in one or two sessions, including weekends. Rehab centers that progressively extend the frequency and length of therapy are more likely to aid your loved one’s full recovery.
Price and Insurance: Make sure the rehab centers on your list are Medicare and/or Medicaid-approved for payment. If your senior has private insurance, confirm that the center accepts it. You may also want to inquire about private pay rates. If Medicare coverage ends before you are ready to take your senior home, you may be forced to pay if you want to extend their stay.
Location: A rehab center that is located close to friends and family may increase the likelihood of visitors, which might help keep your loved one’s spirits up and hasten their recovery.
Services: Does the rehab center have a social worker on staff? Is laundry service included? Are there enriching activities for your senior, such as crafts projects and religious services? Is there a hair salon on site? Is there a garden or outdoor area where your loved one can enjoy fresh air?
Transitioning Home After a Rehab Stay
Once your loved one is admitted to a short-term rehab, it is time to start planning for the next step—their arrival home. It might also be a good time to start a conversation with your loved one about the future. Heritage Senior Communities offers many care options tailored to the needs of older adults across Michigan, including independent living, assisted living and specialized dementia care.