What is post-acute rehab like in a nursing home?

Regardless of your age or health, recovering from a hospital visit can be challenging. And depending on the reason for your hospital stay, recovering at home may be impossible. That’s where recovery and rehab in a skilled nursing facility can be beneficial.

Intended as a temporary stop on the way back to independent living, post-acute rehabilitation at a nursing home provides a short-term break between the hospital and home – including physical therapy and occupational therapy – that allows you to transition back to independent living safely and comfortably.

What types of hospitalizations require post-acute rehab?

Any hospitalization that includes significant surgery may warrant a short rehab stay, depending on the age and mobility of the patient, as well as their current living arrangements. Some medical conditions or treatments that may specifically benefit from post-acute rehab include:

  • Hip or knee replacement surgery
  • A fall that caused bone fractures, especially hip or leg breaks
  • Stroke
  • A cardiac event including congestive heart failure
  • Pulmonary and breathing problems like COPD
  • Non-healing wounds
  • IV therapy
  • Other post-surgery recovery 

What types of care are included in post-acute rehab?

Many different healthcare professionals participate in the post-acute rehab process. Each brings a different set of skills to suit the patient’s needs. These various disciplines collaborate with each other and typically plan care in a coordinated fashion. They meet or communicate regularly to determine how the health care goals can be met. Frequent collaborations occur between the following disciplines to get patients back to their best possible lives:

  • Nursing care, which may be provided by registered nurses, licensed practical or vocational nurses, as well as nursing assistants or aides. Nurses provide the basics of hygiene and skin care, help patients with meals, administer medications and coordinate care.
  • Physical therapy, to promote mobility and relieve pain through exercise and other therapies.
  • Occupational therapy, which shares characteristics of physical therapy, but focuses on helping patients with activities of daily living. For example, a physical therapist helps patients learn to walk again, while an occupational therapist might help them learn to feed themselves or brush their teeth after a stroke. Occupational therapists use or modify basic tools like forks or combs to allow patients with disabilities to use them.
  • Speech therapy offered through speech and language pathologists for people who have had strokes or other problems that affect swallowing and speech and cognition.
  • Social workers who identify and help solve problems like financial constraints and insurance difficulties.
  • Mental health professionals who can assist with problems such as anxiety and depression.
  • Dietitians to help ensure patients are properly nourished.
  • Case managers who help coordinate all aspects of care.

Clearly, one of the greatest advantages of post-acute rehab is the combined efforts of multiple healthcare professionals, each of whom plays a critical role in the patient’s recovery.

Post-acute rehab in a nursing home facility can be a recognized medical requirement for proper recovery, especially for older patients and those who cannot live alone. Just as is the case with medical and surgical expenses, skilled nursing care is covered by Medicare. In fact, the first 20 days in a skilled nursing facility are covered in full, with no co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses in most cases.

If your parent or loved one is facing a medical situation that may require post-acute rehab, it’s time to evaluate and select a facility that can help. Facilities managed by American Health Corporation – including three locations in Alabama – offer the highest quality skilled nursing healthcare nearby and offer programs to help residents maintain skills and abilities to live as independently as possible.

Contact the American Health Corporation nursing home in your area today for more information or to schedule a guided tour:

Oak Trace (Bessemer, AL) 205-428-9383

Colonial Haven (Greensboro, AL) 334-624-3054

Perry County Nursing Home (Marion, AL) 334-683-9696