Saturday, July 21, 2012

In the hospital...need therapy...what next?

At one time or another there will be a need to be admitted to the hospital.  Whether its for pneumonia, a fall, a stroke or even surgery there will be a decline in physical abilities potentially needing physical, occupational, or even speech therapy.  How do you decide where to go?  This is where the challenge begins.  Rehab hospitals are designed for individuals who can complete 3 hours of therapy.  However, those with a compromised immune system and need to go at their own pace would benefit from a skilled nursing facility.  Some people think this means they are going to a nursing home and will never get to leave.  This is incorrect.  Most facilities much like my facility have a short term side and a long term side.  The focus of the short-term side is to get individuals back into the community.  They receive individualized therapy 5 times a week, sometimes more, and work to restoring an individuals prior level of functioning.  But how do you even select a place, or even pay for it.  Great news.  If the individual needing skilling nursing services is a Medicare recipient, Medicare will cover the first 20 days at 100% if you meet their criteria and are participating in therapy.  After day 20, Medicare pays 80%.  That leaves a secondary insurance that potentially will pick up the co-pay or private pay.  Every private insurance or Managed Care (Medicare Replacement plan) has there own coverage guidelines, and any facility can identify that information for you, so you can be well informed.  The last order of business is how do you select a facility...this is the most crucial step.  Never place a loved one somewhere that you haven't toured, and I would tour several places unannounced.  You want to see how they do on the spot, without any notice.  The first thing I observe is the smell.  There should be no odor when you walk in...if there is I recommend you turn around and walk the other way.  If they pass the odor test, I observe the general cleanliness of the building.  Just because its a new building doesn't mean its the best.  If they can't maintain and keep their new building looking new, how will they care for you or your loved ones.  Next, I look at the staff and then patients.  How is the staff, are they smiling, speaking nicely to patients, laughing, and enjoying what they do, if not you want want to look somewhere else. Then the patients, how are the dressed, do they look neat and clean, dressed appropriately for the time of day, are the staff members talking to them?  Like I say to all my new hires, happy staff will make for happy patients.  Patients pick up on how staff likes or dislikes their job and will respond accordingly.  If you can find a place new or old that smells great, is clean, has happy staff and patients, you can almost be content in knowing that you or your loved ones will receive great care.  If you need any more suggestions...let me know...I'm only here to help!

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