Your father has just had major surgery or a medical event and is going to be discharged from the hospital. He’s still feeling weak and uncertain, and you’re not sure that you can give him what he needs as a caregiver. There’s so much to consider: medications, therapies and fear of relapse or reinjury. How can you best help dad recover safely? The answer is often choosing a short-term inpatient rehab program as your loved one rebuilds strength and function and gradually works up to independent living.
What Is Short Term Rehab?
Short-term rehab is a kind of step-down care between a hospital stay and going home. It’s a temporary stay, up to 21 days, often just 10 days or two weeks, and is an option for patients who are going to recover and return to their daily lives but just need a little extra time. In that way, it’s different from long-term care or assisted living. Short-term rehab serves patients who have progressed beyond the need for hospital-level care but can benefit from extended nursing care and support with physical therapy and other programs to help them regain their footing and return home.
Short term rehab offers so much to patients who are not quite strong enough – or who don’t have enough support from others – to return home directly after a hospitalization. One of the top priorities of doctors and patients is avoiding hospital readmissions, and studies have shown that inpatient rehab has a positive impact in that area. By simply giving patients additional inpatient care, we can avoid the stress and expense of repeat hospitalization. Here are some of the most important services short-term rehab offers:
- Physical therapy: After a medical crisis or surgery, physical therapy is a key component to full recovery, but many seniors simply aren’t motivated to stick with a PT program on their own. Starting out with daily, supervised physical therapy can help patients get off on the right track with a well-planned and consistent program and pave the way for follow through with outpatient therapy at home.
- Wound care: Sometimes overlooked as a priority, wound care can often be one of the most daunting elements of a patient’s return home for caregivers. Short-term rehab allows the patient and family to get help with wound care from professionals during the first crucial weeks of recovery and start on the path to healing.
- Medications and pain management: This is another major source of stress following a hospitalization. Patients often return home with a confusing list of medications, and having a skilled nursing team to manage medications in the early weeks can ensure a safe recovery. The professionals in a short-term rehab facility can also help transition to pain management without narcotics.
- Overall support: One of the biggest benefits of short-term rehab is help with the little things that can be challenging, like meal prep and personal care. Having support in those areas in the first days of recovery can help patients work up to a safe return home, especially when caregivers have limitations because of age or other conditions. Also, having a loved one help with personal care can be an uncomfortable situation. It helps preserve dignity when a professional can aid with these necessary aspects of daily living.
Who Can Benefit from Short Term Rehab?
Short-term rehab can serve patients recovering from a range of Illnesses, injuries and surgeries. It’s especially effective if patients are elderly, have other underlying conditions or don’t have caregiving support at home. Evergreen Health & Rehab is recognized around the region as a leader in helping patients recover from tough conditions:
- Joint surgery: Hip and knee replacement can be life-changing for so many seniors, or even younger patients. But recovery can be challenging and painful, and patients can’t always get up and moving right away. It’s often better for both patients and caregivers if there’s full-time professional support and supervision in those key early days. Our team focuses on challenging but appropriate physical therapy to help patients regain strength and mobility, along with occupational therapy to help them adjust to life with their new joint and get ready to return home safely. We also help patients get the right amount of pain medication and move onto non-narcotic options.
- Stroke: Many patients who experience a stroke still need nursing services as they recover, without needing full hospital care. Stroke survivors may experience weakness, lack of function and confusion, so inpatient rehab is often the best choice in the short term. Our team offers physical therapy to achieve the all-important combination of rest and safe physical activity. Meanwhile, occupational therapists help rebuild skills like speech, communication and swallowing.
- Heart attack: Weakness and loss of function are significant issues following a heart attack. We want to help patients regain function gradually, with supported and supervised therapies while also getting the rest they need. Nutrition and medication management are also key benefits of short-term rehab for heart attack survivors
Short-Term Rehab at Evergreen Health & Rehab
In addition to the key diagnoses mentioned above, Evergreen is here to support patients recovering from injury (including injuries from a fall), debilitating illness, amputation and other major surgeries. Our team of nurses, therapists and support staff work together to make sure your loved one gets the support they need to heal, regain function and return home feeling strong, safe and confident. When it comes to well-being and self-sufficiency, a week or two of safe, supervised transition can make all the difference.