If you're having orthopedic surgery soon, you might need to recover in a skilled nursing facility when you're ready to leave the hospital. Hospital stays are kept as short as possible, and if you're not ready to go home safely, a skilled nursing facility, also called a rehab facility, is the best place to go. Here's a closer look at what a skilled nursing facility is and some things you should know before you go.
A Skilled Nursing Facility Provides Short-Term Care
A skilled nursing facility is often a separate wing or floor in a traditional nursing home. It's staffed with nurses that offer more complex care than in a residential nursing home. Plus, the facility provides physical, occupational, respiratory, and speech therapies that help you heal from surgery or a medical event so you can return home. These facilities specialize in short-term care, unlike a nursing home that provides residential long-term care.
Your Insurance Coverage Regulates Your Stay
Insurance and Medicare often pay for skilled care since it is less expensive than hospital care, but you usually have guidelines to follow. You often need a qualifying hospital stay of a few days. Your doctor must then recommend skilled nursing and the types of therapies you need.
Your insurance will probably limit the number of days of coverage until you have to start paying out of pocket. You want to know these details up front so you have peace of mind and don't have to worry about medical bills mounting up.
Undergoing Therapy Is Convenient
One of the best things about recovering in a skilled nursing facility is that going to therapy is convenient. The physical therapist may come to your room until you're ready to go to the therapy room and work out with the equipment. You'll be able to have therapy every day so you make progress with your recovery.
If you go home after your surgery, you might have home sessions for a while and then you'll have to travel to a physical therapy clinic, which is much less convenient. It's easier to comply with your therapy and stay motivated when you stay in the same building where you take your therapy.
You Stay In Pleasant Surroundings
Another benefit of recovering in a skilled nursing facility is that you're around other people. There will be plenty of staff to help you 24 hours a day, and you'll meet other patients in the therapy room and dining area, so you won't get lonely or bored.
Recovering from orthopedic surgery at home can be unpleasant when your mobility is limited and you can't go out and socialize until you've recovered. When you stay in a nursing facility, you can socialize when you feel up to it, and that can keep your spirits up and make your recovery a little easier.