Guide to Understanding Short-Term Rehabilitation for Seniors

Not very long ago, older adults who were recovering from an accident, illness or surgery were able to remain in the hospital until it was determined they were well enough to go home. Today, because of the way our health care system is set up, that has changed. Instead, older adults who need additional services or rehabilitation in order to get back to a normal level of function generally turn to services like short-term rehabilitation. 

“Short-term rehabilitation is one of the best solutions for older adults who need extra help to get back on their feet,” says Janet McNemar, NHA, MBA, Executive Director at Saunders House in Wynnewood, PA. “We’ve seen how it can reduce the risk of health complications following discharge, which results in fewer rehospitalizations, lower health care costs and better outcomes overall. At Saunders House, we’re pleased to offer RenewAll Short-Term & Medically Complex Care, a program that has been developed specifically to support successful recoveries and safe returns to home.” 

Short-term rehabilitation at Saunders House combines balanced medical management and physical rehabilitation to treat a variety of conditions including post-surgical recovery, joint replacement, stroke and cardiopulmonary disease. The interdisciplinary approach, provided by licensed medical professionals across the spectrum, brings a holistic treatment and course of action that works together to provide measurable medical outcomes and optimal quality. 

If you’re considering short-term rehabilitation for yourself or a loved one, here are some frequently asked questions to give you more insight into this type of care, as well as some questions you can ask facilities in order to ensure you find the right fit for your needs. 

What is short-term rehabilitation?

Short-term rehabilitation, also known as post-hospital care, is a level of care that’s one step down from what’s provided in a hospital (known as “acute” care). Patients are admitted to a rehabilitation center and receive post-acute care. The ultimate goal is to help them heal in a therapeutic environment until they are well enough to go home or be discharged to a lower level of care. 

What sort of conditions or illnesses generally qualify for short-term rehabilitation?

The rule of thumb is that the individual is medically stable but still requires around-the-clock supervised care. Some conditions would include issues like complex fractures or broken hips, joint replacement, recovery from surgery, head or spinal cord injuries, slow-healing wounds, traumatic accidents like a car crash, progressive or chronic illnesses and a variety of other conditions. 

Who pays for short-term rehabilitation?

This type of care is generally prescribed by a physician, which means that many forms of insurance (such as Medicare) can cover most if not all of the costs. It’s important to check with your insurance provider as well as the facility in order to determine what exact coverage is available. 

How long does short-term rehabilitation last?

Typically, individuals receiving short-term rehabilitation stay at the facility until their team or physician feel they are well enough to be discharged. This can be as short as two or three weeks, or more. Depending on their continued health needs, the individual may continue to receive treatments on an outpatient basis once they’ve been discharged from the center. 

What questions should I ask when researching short-term rehabilitation providers?

No two short-term rehabilitation providers are created equal, and it’s important to do your due diligence in order to get the extra assistance needed for a full recovery. Here are a few questions to ask:

●      Is the center certified and does it provide care with licensed therapists? You don’t want to gamble on your health and safety, so be sure that the rehabilitation center you choose has been certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and has licensed therapists providing rehabilitation care.

●      Does the center offer the therapies you or your loved one will need? Depending on your reasons for going into short-term rehabilitation, you may require very specific treatments and therapies. For example, if you’re getting a hip replacement, you’ll probably need different programs and services than someone who is recovering from a surgery related to cancer. You want to make sure that wherever you go will provide the care you need.

●      Does the center have a multidisciplinary team? Having a diverse staff provides a holistic approach that will result in the best possible care for recovery and rehabilitation.

●      Is your insurance accepted? A very important factor, as this will help you reduce and manage your out-of-pocket costs more effectively.

Is the facility convenient and comfortable for you? Since you can expect to stay in short-term rehabilitation for a set amount of time, you’ll want to pick a place that makes you feel comfortable and welcome.

Discover Our Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness 

Located adjacent to Lankenau Medical Center, Saunders House – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has a celebrated tradition of providing exceptional care and services to seniors and their families. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue. 

Today, Saunders House offers a range of services, including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, restorative care, memory care, respite care, for individuals with visual impairments – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing. 

For more information on Saunders House, our short-term rehabilitation program and other professional services, please call us today at 610.658.5100 or contact us online. 

Voted Best of the Main Line 2020 by Loyal Readers 

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Saunders House and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.


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