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Questions About Short Term Rehab? We’ve got answers.

September 28, 2015

A version of this article originally appeared on Angie’s List.

Have you heard of short-term rehab, subacute rehab, or skilled nursing rehab, and wondered what that’s all about?
Read on for the answers to 4 of your biggest rehab conundrums!

Q: What is short-term rehab?

A: A short-term skilled subacute rehabilitation center provides a structured environment where physical, occupational, and/or speech therapies are available 5 to 7 days per week and the watchful eyes and hands of nurses and certified nursing assistants are present 24-hours per day. Physicians are on site on a weekly or as-needed basis to oversee medications and medical progress, and rehab patients still go out as needed to see any specialty doctors. Subacute rehab may also be referred to as short term Skilled Nursing care and can be provided under the same roof as traditional nursing homes for older adults. Subacute rehab is different than inpatient rehab, which is more intense and includes a physician’s supervision on a daily basis.

Q: Why would someone go to rehab?

A: In this type of setting, patients can focus on recovery from an illness, accident, or surgery while strengthening their bodies and paying close attention to medical needs. Rehab provides a healing, restful environment in between participating in comprehensive therapy sessions with skilled therapists. This combination of hard work along with R&R produces many, many success stories, versus the alternative scenario where a patient attempts to go home on their own after a medical setback.

Q: What are examples of the medical obstacles someone would go to rehab to overcome?

A: At any given time in a short term rehabilitation center, there might be people recovering from an elective joint replacement surgery, a stroke, generalized weakness, a fall, a broken bone, pneumonia, heart failure, or any other number of possible mishaps. The need for wound care, respiratory therapy, IV antibiotics, or tube feedings could also land someone in short term rehab.

Q: It sounds expensive… who pays for rehab?

A: Your health insurance and/or Medicare plan likely has coverage for rehab care. Since there are many options for exactly what and how much is covered, as with any medical situation, reaching out to your own insurance provider is the best way to get all the details about what you are covered for.


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