10 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Short-Term Rehab Center

May 24, 2014

Every day, people are entering skilled nursing | subacute rehabilitation facilities where they can carefully build up their strength after a surgery, illness, or medical episode. They work with physical, occupational, and | or speech therapies until they’re ready to return home and resume normal life. Perhaps you’ve heard about a friend or neighbor going for a short rehab stay, or maybe you have a personal experience with it.


For many, it can be terribly overwhelming: Your doctor recommends you go to rehab instead of home after an unexpected hospital stay. The hospital social worker presents you with a list of four centers in your area and asks where you would like to go. What now?

Depending on where you live, chances are you have a few centers in your area to choose from. Whether you have the luxury of time to pre-arrange your rehab stay before an elective surgery or whether you send out the ‘scouts’ from your family to look into a few places for you, it can be confusing and daunting. We recommend going yourself or asking a friend or family member to go set foot in all the centers you’re considering so you get a true feel for the place. Any center will be more than happy to show you around so you can see how things work and what to expect.

When you head in to learn more about a center, here are 10 questions we recommend getting answers to:

  1. Are there currently any openings for a new patient?
  2. Is my insurance accepted here and what steps do I need to take ahead of time to ensure coverage?
  3. Does the staff specialize in any particular areas?
  4. How much therapy do patients receive?
  5. What is the staff to patient ratio?
  6. What types of treatment team members will be active with my recovery?
  7. What can be expected about the transition from hospital to rehab?
  8. What items should be brought with and what is provided?
  9. Does the center offer outpatient therapy or will they help set up in-home services if needed after the rehab stay is complete?
  10. Are care planning meetings conducted on a regular basis and are family members invited to participate?

If you have other questions that are particularly important to you and your family, we cannot stress enough to ask away. Any center will be happy to answer your questions as best they can ahead of time. Perhaps you’re curious about the smoking policy, the policy on pets visiting, if an overnight guest is permitted, or what hours the dining room is open. Don’t be shy about getting answers that will help you make the best decision for you or your loved one.

Most of all, take note of your gut feelings about a center. You’ll notice how you felt when you set foot in the doors. Were you warmly greeted? Did the staff smile in the halls? Did people seem content? Were common areas clean and free of odors?

Once you’ve decided on a center, we recommend verifying the best way to contact patients via telephone and where friends or family can send mail. Additionally, make sure appropriate emergency contact information has been communicated and ask for the names and contact info of integral team members at the center, from the social worker to the billing office.

Once you’ve made your decision, the best part is next – focusing on healing and recovering.

If you find you have other questions about short-term rehabilitation, we’re always happy to be a resource. Contact us at 800.848.5306.

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