Home Health and Wellness Choosing a Rehab Center for Seniors

Choosing a Rehab Center for Seniors

More often than not, when a senior’s stay is eminent to go to a rehab center, their family members may not realize that they have a choice on where they are discharged to. Also, there are many different types, and they will often specialize in various health treatments.

Bottom line, in choosing a rehab center for your loved one, isn’t easy. What’s good for one person’s recovery may not be good for another. Sure, location might be important. And then there are solid clinical issues to be aware of before you make a decision.

What You Need to Know about Rehabilitation Centers

Most families and seniors take their recommendation on where to go without even investigating other options. They perceive that there really isn’t a “choice,” and with everything else going on with health concerns, they don’t realize what an important choice it is for the wellness of your loved one.

For a social worker or discharge planner, unfortunately, their priorities are likely to be different from yours. A social worker’s goal might be to discharge you quickly. They may recommend the first rehab center that lets them know they have an open room, or they may just refer to one rehab center out of just getting their task completed as quick as possible.

As a family member, you may not realize that there are specific questions you should be asking of a rehab center before your loved one is admitted.

  1. Ask to see State Survey reports.

You can also see them online. Every state- (including Washington) conducts annual surveys of skilled nursing and rehab centers. The results are made public through the Medicare Five Star Rating System on Medicare.gov.

  1. What is the ratio of patients to workers?

An important factor in employee satisfaction is the patient-worker ratio. Find out what type of worker is on staff at all times: a qualified nurse, board-certified medical staff, or assistants? Each is important in his or her own way. This information is also part of the Medicare Five Star Rating system.

  1. Make sure there is a point of contact for the patient

It’s hard to believe, but some rehab centers leave patients wondering who’s in charge of their care. Research who the Resident Doctor will be. Check out the doctor’s reputation online, and also, learn how often that the doctor makes rounds of the patients there.

Clear communication between healthcare providers, patients and caregivers is essential. Find out who is responsible for monitoring each patient’s progress toward their goal and communicating that back to families.

  1. Are private rooms available? And other amenities?

You may not think of it at the time, but the option for a private room may come as a welcome relief. Same goes for the opportunity to join in life enrichment activities or to enjoy time outdoors. Staying engaged and active during rehab can help keep older adults motivated.

  1. Is the rehab center close to visitors?

The good news is that there are many rehab centers to choose from here in Western Washington. Start with getting a list of rehab centers from the discharge planner of the local hospital. Once you have a proper radius, then go to work and find the one that best suits your needs.

  1. Make a Preliminary Visit.

Make a call and visit the center before your loved one arrives. Meet with the community relationship director and once you make a decision, let the facility know your loved ones likes and dislikes. Also, meet with the dietician and director of nursing. Educate them as much as you can about food preferences, and your loved ones’ daily schedule.

  1. Prepare Your Loved One for the Time Ahead

Depending upon the reason why a senior may be admitted, understand that their visit will likely involved both physical and occupational therapy. In other words, they are there to work and rehabilitate. There will be some uncomfortable times, some frustrating times, and you might find that they are complaining. Help them understand that this is a time to get themselves back to normal, and the faster they can do this, the sooner they can come home.

  1. Pay Attention to the Time Clock

Depending on your loved ones’ insurance and financial situation, bear in mind that Medicare will only pay for 6 weeks of rehabilitative care. If your loved one has a healthcare supplemental policy the likely hundreds of dollars per day rate will be offset.

On the other hand, if you feel like your parent or loved one is ready to be released before the six-week timeframe is up, speak up! Ask for an updated assessment and a care conference. Don’t be shy to speak up if you disagree with their findings. A good rehab facility will listen to family members and their input.

The point is — the relationship between a good rehab center can and should be an important factor in finding the best place for your loved one. Stay connected and keep your heart open to the process.