Whether you’re getting over an extended illness or recovering from an unexpected accident or planned surgery, your doctor may recommend a stay in a short-term rehabilitation center prior to heading home. Some seniors, particularly those with strong support networks at home, may balk at this, wanting to leave the hospital and get back to a familiar setting as soon as possible.

However, if your doctor believes that you could benefit from short-term rehabilitation, it’s important to listen to his/her recommendation carefully. The medically-supervised transition that short-term rehab provides can help make a full recovery more likely, ensuring that you can continue to stay active and enjoy your golden years to the fullest. Before you decide, here’s everything you need to know as you consider a stay in a short-term rehabilitation facility.

What is Short-Term Rehabilitation?

Simply put, short-term rehabilitation facilities provide around-the-clock therapeutic services and medical care in a non-hospital setting. Such rehabilitation is aimed at helping patients recover following an illness, accident or surgery.

As the name implies, short-term rehabilitation is not intended to be long term or ongoing. Patients typically stay in a short-term rehab facility for a few weeks, although stays can be as short as a couple of days or as long as 100 days (which is the limit that Medicare and many private insurers place on coverage).

Short-term rehab programs recognize that seniors who are ready to leave the hospital may not yet be fully ready to take care of themselves and may still be at risk for developing further serious medical complications. Because of this, short-term rehabilitation facilities have medical staff (including nurses and doctors) on-site 24 hours a day in order to be able to promptly respond to setbacks or emergencies. For many seniors in recovery, the ability to immediately access medical attention proves to be a key part of successful recovery.

Who Is Short-Term Rehabilitation Right For?

While your doctor’s recommendation is the most important guide to whether or not you may benefit from short-term rehab, older adults can see marked improvement through short-term rehab following many common medical conditions, including:

  • Surgery: Unfortunately, as we age, recovering from even minor surgery can become more difficult and require extra care. In a short-term rehab facility, the medical professionals on staff are equipped to provide such care and help support a full recovery.
  • Joint replacement: Joint replacement is a major surgery, and a common one for many aging adults. Ongoing physical therapy is often needed for total recovery, as such therapy can help strengthen muscles, improve circulation and reduce pain and complications. The supportive therapy needed for a full recovery following joint replacement is all on-site at a short-term rehab facility, ensuring that your recovery is as seamless as possible.
  • Heart failure: Heart failure is a serious and scary condition, and even after your release from the hospital, you’ll need to take care to monitor and manage your symptoms. The medical team at a short-term rehab center is there to keep a close eye on your health as you get the supportive physical therapy and nutritional management that can make recovery smoother.
  • Respiratory illness: Ongoing breathing problems caused by infections such as pneumonia can be difficult to manage and terrifying to deal with. At a short-term rehabilitation facility, you can receive a broad range of rehabilitative care to bring your respiratory function back to healthy levels.

It’s important to keep in mind that even those seniors with strong support networks and available caregivers at home can benefit from short-term rehabilitation. The range of therapies offered at a short-term rehabilitation center is much broader than can be provided at home by even a skilled caregiver. From physical therapy following injury or surgery and occupational therapy to empower you to perform everyday tasks to speech therapy to restore your communication skills, a short-term rehab center can offer the complete constellation of care needed to return you to full health and function.

The 3 Key Advantages of Short-Term Rehabilitation for Seniors

Short-term rehab can target a wide variety of health needs.

Whether you’re recovering from an illness, an injury or a surgery, you may find that you need help getting back to normal in a number of areas. Here’s one key way in which a short-term rehabilitation center can help. Most facilities offer a range of rehabilitative services and therapies, from physical and occupational therapy to speech, respiratory or cardiac rehabilitation services. With this broad array of services, the staff at your chosen short-term rehab center can target your individual needs and help restore you to full health and function.

Short-term rehabilitation centers provide a warm and welcoming environment in which to recover.

After even a short stay in the hospital, many seniors feel a strong desire to get out of such a cold and clinical environment. Short-term rehab may not be quite as comfortable as home; however, unlike the clinical and impersonal nature of a traditional hospital, short-term rehabilitation centers are designed to be warm, comfortable and comforting. Most recovering seniors find that their short-term rehab center is a welcoming stepping stone between hospital and home. As an added benefit, your short-term rehab facilities can offer many amenities and convenience that your home or the hospital don’t have, like concierge services, rehabilitation gyms, cable TV, WiFi access and private rooms and bathrooms.

In a short-term rehab facility, extra help is often just a second away.

While short-term rehabilitation typically makes recovery quicker and smoother, it is true that sometimes a patient’s health can take a turn for the worse. Certainly, short-term centers can provide emergency care more quickly than an at-home caretaker can thanks to their 24-hour-a-day medical staff available at a time when seconds can count.

If the situation is not an emergency but does require more long-term care than originally thought, short-term rehab centers can also offer benefits over completing rehab at home or in the hospital. Many short-term rehabilitation facilities are connected with skilled nursing facilities. That means that if your needs change and you need skilled medical care for longer than originally expected, you can easily transition into more intensive care during recovery without the added stress of moving facilities.

At PPH, we believe that all of our residents should have access to our active, purposeful lifestyle and affordable quality care, whether they are joining our community or simply staying with us short-term. Our range of services including independent living, personal care, rehabilitation and skilled nursing provide options to the 600 senior citizens who call our community home. To find out more about our community and amenities, please contact us today.