If your medical team is recommending a stay in a rehabilitation hospital before you go home, you probably need to get stronger and the rehab hospital is the perfect place for intensive therapy. Below are seven questions you will want to ask.
1. How much therapy will I receive?
At a rehab hospital, each patient is placed in an intensive therapy program, based on individual needs. A patient will often receive several hours of therapy per day to aid in recovery, which may be a combination of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
2. Why is a rehab hospital being recommended for me?
In most cases, you are sent to a rehab hospital when you are too “well” for the acute care hospital but not yet strong enough to return home. Usually, you will receive more therapy in a rehab hospital than you would receive in a skilled nursing facility. (You will also receive more therapy in a skilled nursing facility than in an assisted living facility.)
3. How many days of insurance coverage you will have at the rehab hospital?
Do not assume that because you have Medicare and supplemental insurance that all of your days of admission will be covered. And conversely, the rehab hospital may be reluctant to let you go before all of your days are used up. It is astounding, but sometimes family members have to argue to get a patient discharged before all of the days are used up.It is often a delicate balance to determine how much time in a rehab hospital is “enough.” If you leave the hospital before staff recommends it, you may have to sign documents acknowledging that you are signing out “AMA” or “against medical advice.” If you do leave “AMA,” you will have to do extra planning to return safely to your home.
4. How much therapy does my insurance cover? How many visits? How much per visit?
You cannot assume that all of your therapy charges will be covered-ask this before you get transferred there. See if your insurance requires therapy preapproval, and if so, how many visits will be covered. In some cases, you may end up with a bill for the unpaid therapy services. You will want to confirm whether you will be required to pay any residual balance after your insurance(s) have paid.
5. Which rehab hospital is being recommended?
You may have a choice on which rehab hospital to choose, depending on where you live. There could be a rehab hospital that specializes in brain injuries, for example. If you had head trauma, it might make more sense to reside there and get the utmost benefit available, and maybe have a shorter stay than one at a rehab hospital that does not have the same experience and expertise. If you have a choice to make about which rehab hospital to choose, you will want to gather some information about each. You will want to get the name, address, phone number, and name of the contact person for each facility. See if the facility specializes in treating people with your particular diagnosis. You will need to know what therapy services are being recommended for you, and if they are available at each facility.
6. What should I bring?
The rehab hospital will provide the medical equipment and other adaptive devices to aid in your recovery. There are other things you can bring to make your stay more comfortable. If you brought clothing and toiletries with you to the acute care hospital, you may want to bring them to the rehab hospital. Things you might consider bringing include the following: robe, socks, sweater, scarf, headband, slippers, pillow, blanket, sleep mask, ear plugs, earphones, razor, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, books, magazines, DVDs, DVD player, radio, and basic toiletries. Bring several sets of loose and comfortable clothes, and don’t forget sturdy walking shoes. You will be expected to be dressed each day, so your bathrobe and slippers are for nighttime only.
7. Should I bring my prescription medicines?
It is also a good idea to have a 2- to 3-day supply of your medications to bring with you to the rehab hospital. In this way, in case there is a mix-up of some kind, you are assured that you will not miss any doses of medicine.
In conclusion, a stay at a rehab hospital will give you the chance to recover from your illness to the greatest extent possible. The services provided are tailored to your needs, and will get you to the point where you can return home with increased mobility and functionality.