Why Go To a Skilled Nursing Facility For Rehab?

First What is a Skilled Nursing Facility?

When you think of a skilled nursing facility do you think of the terms nursing home, old folks home, convalescent home? “I’m not going there, if I do I may never go home again!” 

That’s not the case. A Skilled Nursing Facilities like The Anderson, is focused on therapy and medical management of your needs, to get you back on your feet and HOME.  Yes, most have long term beds as well, but when you admit for skilled rehab, getting home is priority #1.

The benefit of a skilled facility is the 24 hour care you receive and a safe environment to learn how your body may have changed.  You can focus on your health and recovery without worrying about medicines, cooking, cleaning, taking out the dog etc. 

They Said I Can Go To Rehab At The Hospital:

Absolutely!  They have inpatient acute rehab options at the hospital.

Generally these are geared towards those that can tolerate 3 or more hours of therapy a day and are expected to return home in 7 days. If you feel you may need more time, you can start in acute rehab if accepted and transition to the skilled level when needed.  However, you may feel like you’re “starting over again” when you meet your new team and re-establish your goals. 

Sometimes, planning ahead and choosing 1 team to stick with you the entire way is a better option.

Why Can’t I Just Do It At Home?

Home therapy is a wonderful thing!  It helps you progress in the comfort of your home and identifies specific changes to your routine to help you succeed in YOUR environment. 

However, at your home, you have more distractions.  You will want to empty the dishwasher, do a load of laundry and take care of the dog.  You may be the last thing on your mind and sometimes that can cause falls and difficulty healing.

Sometimes it’s wise to start your rehab outside of the home, really focus on you and getting your body back on track, then transitioning to the home health option and working out the kinks. 

Skilled Nursing Facility

How Long Do I Have To Be Away From My Home?

As I’ve said in other blog posts, your recovery time is based on a few things. First consider the severity of the injury or illness. 

Second how hard are you willing to work?  After all you probably feel cruddy and don’t want to move!  Can you find the right team to rally around you and push you when you feel like the bed is where you need to be?

Third, how hard is your team willing to work for you?  This includes your family, your therapists and the nurses who see the small changes every day, encouraging you when you can’t see them. You’ve probably heard the case managers at the hospital say “your insurance covers 20 days” while this is true, it is all based on need! Your stay may be shorter, it may be longer.  On average, expect 14-21 days. 

Why so long!?  Medication changes can take up to 14 days to stabilize.  Broken bones take 6-10 weeks to heal.  It may take a week or two to learn how to use a walker or cane so the bone heals correctly. Ever try to clean your backside with a broken shoulder?  Want to ask your family to do it for you? 

We can help you learn ways and keep your modesty when with your family.

How Do I Find The Right Facility For My Needs?

Before COVID, the list would have been shorter. Is the facility close to family, was the first question!

But now that COVID has limited visits, you have to look a bit deeper into the facility and what it may provide. 

Who provides the therapy?

Is it a contractor who may go to 3 buildings a day? Or are they “in house”? 

This is a big difference especially on the days you may not feel great, the in house therapist will be there all day to provide you multiple opportunities to participate. Whereas a contract therapy team may only be in your building a short time, and you better be ready when they are, or you may not get therapy that day.

How often does the doctor visit and how open are they to talking to you and your family?

In the age of COVID, patients and families feel less in control with all the restrictions.  They’re not able to visit to SEE how you are doing as often as they would like and really rely on your team to communicate changes and needs. 

Is your SNF team willing to reach out?  Do they answer the phone?  Do they return emails?  Are they open to a conversation?  Will they stop to answer random questions? Will they take time to be with you when you feel lonely? 

You may not be able to determine all of these before you choose the facility, but know you always have choices!  Take time to call the facility before you go, that first phone call can set the tone.

At The Anderson, we believe you belong at home for as long as it is safely possible!  Yes, we have long term options, but with the help of our dedicated staff, we aim to get you safe, moving and independent again so you can go home.  Hopefully we make a positive impact.  Then when someone you know needs help, you may send them our way.