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Post Hospital Care: Should I Choose Home Health or Short-Term Stay?

As a senior prepares to be discharged from the hospital after experiencing a serious health condition, such as surgery, heart attack, or stroke, they will likely need post-hospital care before resuming life as normal. While patients will want to return to their homes, they will need to make plans for supplemental care to ensure a safe recovery. A patient’s care team will create a discharge plan that will help them move from one level of care to another. Oftentimes, patients and their families will need to choose between short-term rehabilitation at a senior rehabilitation facility or bringing in home health to their individual homes.   

Short-term rehabilitation care is frequently ordered by a doctor for a senior who requires additional support and supervision as they recover from an illness, injury, or medical procedure. Many seniors need rehabilitation services after experiencing a heart attack, traumatic brain injury, joint replacement, or hip and knee fractures. In addition, doctors may order different types of therapies to ensure a full recovery. For example, physical therapy is used to help improve mobility, increase strength and manage pain while occupational therapy focuses on improving fine motor skills. Speech therapy is often prescribed after a stroke to retrain the brain on how to swallow and speak in addition to recovering cognitive skills. Rehabilitation is a crucial step in the recovery process and should not be overlooked. Fortunately, seniors and their families have several different options when it comes to rehabilitation services.

Types of Senior Rehabilitation 

There are several factors that may influence which type of senior rehabilitation service you choose for your recovery. Rehabilitation can take place at different locations and often corresponds to the level of skilled care needed for the recovery. Here are a few of the most common types of senior habilitation offerings that may fit your needs depending on your situation and doctor’s guidance:

Home Health Care and Outpatient Rehab. 

For simple recoveries that do not require extensive medical care, seniors may choose to receive rehabilitation at home. Skilled care can be provided in the comfort of your own home by home health care services, which are ordered by a doctor prior to hospital discharge. Typically, home health is less expensive than receiving rehab in a skilled care facility, however, individuals will need to be able to perform activities of daily living on their own or with help from family members or professional caregivers. Seniors also have the option to receive outpatient rehab. This requires driving to a rehab facility for therapy as prescribed.

Inpatient Rehab 

Some seniors may choose to recover at an inpatient rehabilitation facility, especially if they are unable to recover safely in their own homes. Admission into an inpatient rehab center requires a doctor’s order and can last anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the individual’s condition. Generally, there are two levels of inpatient rehab.

Subacute rehabilitation is most common among older adults and involves a combination of physical, occupational, and speech therapy. In subacute rehab, seniors will often undergo one or two-hour therapy sessions per day until they reach their full recovery. In addition, seniors receive assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and will have the option to participate in individual and group activities.

Acute rehabilitation is used for those who have a severe injury or major surgery. Seniors who have suffered traumatic injuries, severe stroke, or amputation will often receive an acute rehabilitation order from their physician. Those who receive acute rehab will participate in longer and more intense therapy sessions and are traditionally seen by a physician each day.

Where to Receive Rehabilitation

Senior rehabilitation can take place in a variety of settings including skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities, and independent homes. Skilled nursing facilities offer short-term housing and rehab services for inpatient and acute rehab. These facilities are equipped with round-the-clock medical staff, social services, and provide meals and dietary counseling. Approved nursing facilities are often covered by Medicare within 30 days of a three-day hospital stay. Research has shown that rehabbing at a skilled care facility can actually prevent hospital readmissions. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that “out of 17 million Medicare hospitalizations between 2010 and 2016, patients discharged to home health care had a 5.6 percent higher 30-day readmission rate than similar patients discharged to a skilled nursing facility.”

If a senior opts to receive home health, they don’t always have to be at home to receive it. Many assisted living communities offer respite stays for individuals who desire home health rehab but are not yet able to live independently at home. Individuals who choose to stay at an assisted living community have access to 24-hour assistance while also receiving therapy. Seniors receiving rehab at an assisted living community also have access to social activities and other comforts that support a speedy recovery.

Senior Rehab at Maplewood Senior Living 

At Maplewood Senior Living, our skilled nursing and rehabilitation services provide a comprehensive continuum of clinical care to meet our residents’ individual wellness goals. Our compassionate team will get to know you or your loved one personally, so we can provide support and lifestyle programming that enhances your quality of life. Whether you opt for long-term or short-term rehab, our medical team will provide the care you need to live the life you want. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.


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475-259-3252

1 Gorham Island Rd

Westport, CT 06880


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